The Independent National Electoral Commission claims that with little over 75 days to the general elections of 2023, no amount of intimidation or threats will stop it from using the Electoral Act of 2022 to hold a credible, free, and transparent election.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, spoke on Saturday in Abuja at a media/civil society organisations’ engagement with INEC on identifying and mitigating flashpoints of electoral misinformation and disinformation.
The programme was organised by the International Press Centre, supported by the European Union.
In his keynote address titled, ‘Issues, perspectives and flashpoints of electoral misinformation and disinformation’ Okoye said as the commission prepares for the elections, there were issues, processes and procedures of the commission that had been skewed to confuse Nigerians or delegitimise the commission and the electoral process.
He added, “Some of the critical stakeholders in the electoral process have not made the transition from the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) to the Electoral Act, 2022. Some of them are still quoting sections of the law that have been repealed or amended.
“Furthermore, some of the stakeholders are not comfortable with some of the provisions aimed at strengthening the electoral regime and will prefer a return to the old act. The reality is that the commission must conduct the 2023 general election based on the Electoral Act, 2022. Attacking the commission based on its resolve to conduct a law-based election will not change its resolve to organise, undertake and supervise elections in Nigeria.”
He claimed that although the Electoral Act of 2022 and the 1999 Constitution (as modified) gave the commission the authority to create subsidiary legislation, “there is deliberate injection of confusion in our processes when some persons start circulating information that registered voters do not need their permanent voter cards to vote in any election.”