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Sunday, 19 February 2023 05:25

Naira Scarcity Won’t Affect 2023 Elections - INEC

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said that not all the operations for the conduct of the February 25 and March 11 general elections required the use of physical cash.

Yakubu allayed concerns on the current Naira scarcity on Saturday in Abuja after a tour of the training centre for INEC ad-hoc staff or presiding officers, and inspection of facilities at the national collation centre at the International Conference Centre (ICC).

There have been concerns that this year’s general elections may be postponed or suffer glitches due to cash crunch in the wake of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Naira re-design policy.

Recall that Prof. Yakubu had days ago led a delegation of management of the commission to the CBN headquarters, where the CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, assured the commission of the required cash for the elections.

“We visited the CBN last week on the issue of cash for payment of some of the services, not all, some of the services that we are going to engage on election day.

“The bulk of payment for goods and services is made through electronic transfer. But there are certain critical services that will be remunerated by cash; and that’s why we went to the CBN and it’s a small percentage of the budget.

“The Central Bank has assured us that we will not suffer any encumbrances in that regard. So there are no issues with respect to that,” he said.

The INEC boss declared that the commission was ready to conduct the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, February 25, 2023.

Yakubu, who expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far, assured that by this time next week, Nigerians will be voting in over 176,000 polling units (PUs) for presidential and national assembly elections.

He also said that the choice made by Nigerians for the next president of the country will also be announced at the ICC Abuja.

On the current security situation in the country, he said that protests over cash crunch was a security matter, which will be discussed with security agencies.

He said that the commission has been given assurance by security agencies of their readiness to secure the polling environment across the country.

He said, “As you know, we have our own role clearly cut out and others also have their own roles clearly cut out, but the most important thing is that we’re working together, and the security agencies have assured us that they will secure the environment for elections to hold peacefully nationwide. So, we have no issues in that respect.”

The INEC boss also said that the National Peace Committee (NPC) led by former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, will undertake the signing of the peace accord on Wednesday, February 22, 2023 at the ICC ahead of the Saturday elections.

Speaking on logistics and other processes leading to the elections, he said the commission was good to go as far as transportation and movement of sensitive and non-sensitive materials were concerned.

He stated, “While we’ll deploy our platforms, call it citizens contact centre, where citizens can ask questions, respond to issues or challenges in the field, and will be able to in turn, also respond speedily to give citizens a happy voting experience.

“So this is basically what we have for the media. There will be a place earmarked for those who wish to set up studios to be able to do so. And those of you who wish to bring your outside broadcasting bands will also accredit to bring your outside broadcasting vans.”

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