The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says it is ready for the conduct of the forthcoming general election.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave the assurance when he received a delegation from the European Union (EU), led by its Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Ketil Karlsen, at the commission’s headquarters on Wednesday in Abuja.
Yakubu said the commission is at the moment putting finishing touches to the preparations for the election.“All heavy items for the election are being procured; additional ballot boxes, voting cubicles, replacement of card readers, and Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) have also been delivered to states for collection by the electorate.
“We have concluded and published the guidelines for the general election. We have finalised the manual for election which will be used for training of various staff.“We are recruiting and we will soon start training of ad hoc staff for the election. We are good to go for general election,’’ he said.
Yakubu assured that the commission is not going to fail the nation and the international community in the conduct of the election.
“The election will be credible; we will guide the process and ensure that it lead to the outcome that all Nigerians expect. Nothing, but free, far and credible election,’’ he said.
Karlsen speaking earlier said that the mission is in Nigeria to ensure that the country conduct free, fair and credible election.
He said the international community and the missions are not in the country to support particular candidate, political party or ideology.“What we are here for is to see the continuation of consolidation on the democracy,” he said.
Karlsen said beyond large population, Nigeria is critical to Africa and the entire world.British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing, advised INEC to continue to maintain its independence.
Laing expressed confidence in the ability of INEC to conduct free and fair election.
David Young, Charge D’Affaires, U.S. embassy, stressed the need for security agencies to be neutral in the election.
“The neutrality of the security service is one of the important factors for credible election,” he said.
The Deputy Head of Mission, Regine Hess, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, called on political actors to avoid hate speech and anything that could cause violence in the forthcoming election.She called on women to come out massively to vote on election days.
The delegation, however, joined INEC Chairman to inaugurate the Commission’s Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) newly built and equipped with ICT, within INEC headquarters in Abuja.