Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu has warned that spates of attack on its facilities nationwide will hamper the 2023 elections if it goes on unchecked. Yakubu, was speaking during a session with the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee Investigating the Attacks on Offices and Facilities of INEC in Abuja said: “Should such attacks continue at the pace at which they are happening at the moment, the Commission may find it increasingly difficult to recover in good time for the election. “If it is about stopping the attacks, yes we can recover, but if the attacks continue, it would be very difficult for the Commission to recover. “The attacks have far-reaching implications on preparation for the general elections. First, the facilities that are destroyed, especially offices, would take time to rebuild.” Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, Yiaga Africa, has warned that the high rate of insecurity and executive impunity, especially by state governors, may impact the conduct and outcome of the 2023 general elections. Yiaga, in its pre-election observation report, signed by its executive secretary, Sam Itodo, said the report was conducted through its Watching The Vote project. It said 822 long-term observers were deployed across the 774 local government areas to observe the pre-election environment and report findings bi-weekly. The report captures the activities of the critical election stakeholders; INEC, political parties, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the National Orientation Agency (NOA), and indicators of electoral violence. According to the group, the current security challenges, economic realities, and political neutrality and composition of the election management body, both at the national and sub-national levels, were contexts that created a more vulnerable system to electoral manipulation and electoral violence. It said these factors were risk factors for the conduct of credible and acceptable elections. The group noted that despite deliberate efforts by key stakeholders to ensure smooth processes, election periods were often not without foundational issues, which tended to undermine its credibility. The report noted that most worrisome were the growing attacks on facilities and offices of INEC at the state level, with the most recent of destroying offices in Abeokuta South in Ogun, Edeh South LGA in Osun, Izzi LGA in Ebonyi and Oru West LGA in Imo states. It said 60 reports of violent verbal attacks and 46 reports of violent physical attacks were received from 27 states. The report noted that the violence is more dominant in Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Niger Katsina, Rivers, and Oyo states. The organisation also said it received and confirmed 21 critical incident reports within the last month.

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