The Independent National Electoral Commission has expressed readiness to conduct the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
The electoral commission noted that the election would go on as planned despite the security challenges in the state.
There have been speculations that elections might not hold in the state owing to threats from the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Anambra State.
Recall that political office holders last week were said to have gone into hiding following attacks during the governorship campaign.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, while speaking after the emergency Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security meeting noted that the election would not be postponed.
“Unfortunately, the situation has deteriorated markedly since our last meeting. Many innocent lives have been lost and property destroyed. From the reports we have received, the stated goal of many of the attackers is that the governorship election scheduled for 6 November 2021 must not hold.
“This is worrisome for the commission. We are deeply concerned that specific electoral facilities and materials could once more become targets of attack.
“Recall that in May this year, our State Office at Awka was attacked and all the non-sensitive materials assembled for the election at the time were destroyed.
“In addition, our store, collation centre and the main office building were either totally or substantially damaged. The Commission also lost several vehicles to be used for the election.
“We appreciate the enormous challenges that the security agencies are presently facing in Anambra State, which entail not only securing the electoral process but also enforcing law and order generally.
“This is particularly worrisome because the security agencies have also become prime targets of these mindless attacks.
“We will continue to work with the security agencies and in consultation with respected opinion leaders in Anambra State and the National Peace Committee to ensure that these hit-and-run attacks do not derail the electoral process.
“To underscore this determination, the commission is implementing two more activities on the Timetable for the election in the next few days. The register of voters will be presented to political parties in Awka on Thursday 7 October 2021. On the same day, the commission will publish the final list of candidates for the election,” he said.
Yakubu disclosed that INEC had almost recovered from the attack, as the destroyed buildings had either been completely repaired or were nearing completion.
He said, “This rapid recovery has only been possible because this is an off-season election. We have sourced some of these materials such as the 326 electric generators and vehicles destroyed in the attack from neighbouring states.”
He, however, admitted that if the commission loses important information again, it will affect its ongoing preparations for the election.
He said INEC was particularly concerned about the safety of voters and Election Day staff, including security officials, who have also become the targets of the attacks.
Yakuba said members of the National Youth Service Corps and university students who will be deployed for the electoral process need to be reassured of their safety.