The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has assured the international community that the commission will always submit itself to the sanctity of votes cast by voters.
Yakubu stated this when the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mahamat Saleh Annadif, led a delegation to the headquarters of the commission in Abuja.
While commending UNOWAS for supporting INEC during the conduct of elections in Nigeria, he assured the team that the commission remains committed to a fair electoral process.
He said INEC, as a responsible agency, was aware of the strategic importance that a peaceful Nigeria meant to the stability of the West African region in terms of seamless electoral process.
“I recall that the UNOWAS was supportive of the commission ahead of the last general elections held in 2019.
“As you rightly pointed out, there are 15 countries in the sub-region. In order to show the importance of Nigeria in our democracy, as of today, we have 84 million registered voters but Nigeria is one out of 15 countries in the sub-region.
“But, the total number of registered voters in the other 14 countries put together, is 73m, meaning that Nigeria has 11 million voters more than other countries in the sub-region put together.
“Each time Nigeria conducts a general election, is like a general election in the whole of West Africa. So, we appreciate the enormous responsibility the commission is charged with.
“The election is both national and international. We have very good working relationship with strategic partners and allies in the country.
“We work very closely with the political parties, civil society organisations, media, security agencies in the country but at the same time, we also work closely with our friends in the international community such as UNOWAS.
“So, I want to assure you that we will continue to do what is right on the basis of the law; the ultimate choice is going to be made by Nigerians.
“Nigerians will determine who they want in the 2023 general election and we will continue to uphold the choice made by Nigerians,” Yakubu said.
Earlier, Annadif said the success of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria is important for the nation’s peace and stability as well as the stability of the West African sub-region.
He said Nigeria, by virtue of population, cannot be ignored in the West African region, and that as the most populous black nation, peace and stability in the region largely depend on the stability of Nigeria.
“The United Nations will ensure there is free and credible election in Nigeria. We are here because Nigeria will hold election next year.
“There are indications that peace and stability in the region largely depend on peace in Nigeria,” he said.
He also congratulated Nigeria for the successful conduct of party primaries and expressed joy that candidates of parties emerged peacefully.
Meanwhile, the commission has said fresh registration in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) has hit 10.4 million as of 7am on Monday, June 27.
This is contained in a CVR update Quarter 4, week 11 released Monday night in Abuja.
According to the report, 8,631,696 registrants had completed their registrations with 3,250,449 via online and 5,381,247 through physical registration.
The update also said 4,292,690 male and 4,339,006 female registrants have completed their registration