2023: INEC unveils plan for Presidential run-off, says 187 million ballot papers printed; poll won’t be shifted

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed its plans for a run-off in the 2023 presidential election should a winner fail to emerge in the first ballot.
2023 General Elections: INEC pegs eligible voters at 93m, cancels 2m registrations

BVAS, IReV retained; eligible voters to collect PVCs soon

Forensic institute to support the commission in electoral fraud deterrence

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed its plans for a run-off in the 2023 presidential election should a winner fail to emerge in the first ballot.

As part of the contingency plan, the commission says it has made arrangements to print twice the number of ballot papers required for the first ballot

INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, who revealed this at a roundtable with editors and bureau chiefs in Abuja yesterday, said the commission took the decision because it might not have the time to arrange for printing of ballot papers immediately after the first ballot to be deployed in time for the second.

“This is because the law gives the commission just 21 days within which to engage in reverse logistics and conduct a run-off election in case there is no winner,” Okoye said.

As it stands, the electoral umpire will print no fewer than 187 million ballot papers for the election.

Okoye added that INEC had concluded arrangements to print double the number of ballot papers for at least four governorship run-offs in case no winner emerges from the first election in any state.

He noted that while 18 candidates will contest the presidential election, only two will be on the ballot for the run-off.

“The two candidates will be those that scored the highest number of votes at the election while the second candidate will be the one among the candidates who has the majority of votes in the highest number of states,” he said.

Okoye added that preliminary registered voters in Nigeria now stands at 93.5 million, noting that 9,518,188 new voters were added to the existing register of 84,004,084 voters.

He explained that 93.5 million ballot papers will be used on the February 25, 2022 for the presidential election while the remaining 93.5 million ballot papers will be used for the run-off.

The same arrangement, he said, would apply to states.

“If at the end of the day, there is no run-off, when election petitions are disposed of, the Commission will destroy the 93 million ballots printed for the run-off,” he said.

 ‘Polls won’t be shifted for logistics reasons’

Okoye also vowed yesterday that the electoral umpire will not shift the 2023 poll for any logistics challenge, adding that there is no going back on the deployment of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and NEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) for the elections.

He expressed hope that the courts would have cleared all pre-election matters before the polls

Okoye said: “We assure all Nigerians that the processes and procedures as well as the preparations for the conduct of the 2023 general election are on course.

“Out of the 14 items in our timetable and schedule of activities, we have implemented nine and we implemented all of them on schedule.

“We are comfortable with the level of our preparations, and as the Chairman of the Commission has assured the nation, never again will scheduled elections be postponed or rescheduled on account of logistics and logistics challenges.”

He said INEC will not compromise on the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and NEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) for the 2023 general elections.

Okoye added: The Chairman of the Commission has assured Nigerians that the BVAS and IREV have come to stay.

“The use of BVAS and IREV are legal requirements, and the Commission is irrevocably committed to their use in the 2023 general election.

“Section 47(2) of the Electoral Act makes it mandatory that to vote, the presiding officer shall use a smart card reader or any other technological device that may be prescribed by the Commission for the accreditation of voters to verify, confirm or authenticate the particulars of the intending voter in the manner prescribed by the Commission.

“The use of the BVAS is mandatory and it is not an option of charity.

“The Commission will also transmit polling unit level results in real time. The transmission is also mandatory as provided in section 64(4) of the Electoral Act.

“We canvassed for the inclusion of the BVAS and the Electronic Transmission of Results in the Electoral Act.

“We have a responsibility to keep faith with our own innovations aimed at the conduct of transparent elections driven and propelled by technology.”

On the collection of permanent voter cards, Okoye said no Nigerian legally registered will be denied the card.

He said: The Commission has worked out, approved, and adopted the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for PVC collection. The Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, will in the next few weeks outline the fine details of the SOP.

“The Commission will ensure the seamless collection of permanent voter cards by all eligible registrants.

“We assure all Nigerians that the PVCs of those that registered between the 15th of January 2022 and July 31st, 2022, will be ready this month and the Chairman will give the exact date for collection.

“All those that registered within this period as well as all those that carried out transfer and those that applied for replacement will get their cards.

“Nigerians will have sufficient time for PVC collection.

“No Nigerian that validly and genuinely registered will be denied the opportunity of collecting his or her permanent voter card.

“We plead that Nigerians should not wait till the 11th hour before approaching our local government offices and the wards for PVC collection.”

Forensic institute to support commission

The Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Examiners of Nigeria (CIFCFEN) said it will support INEC in the areas of electoral fraud deterrence, and forensics evidence gathering.

Speaking at CIFCFEN’s 6th Professional Training and Standards graduation ceremony, the President, Dr. Iliyasu Gashinbaki, said other categories of officials in the electoral management process to benefit from the Institute’s capacity building are security officials, election observers and civil society organisations.

He also reaffirmed the institute’s commitment to providing “a robust technical assistance on revenue recovery to both the federal and sub-national governments in tackling the challenges as Nigeria is faced with the greatest revenue crisis in history.”

This, he attributed to oil theft, direct revenue leakages, misappropriation and diversion of public funds.

Deploring the scale in which corruption and financial crimes is growing, Chairman, CIFCFEN Professional Training and Standards, Prof. Michael Ayeni, said to outwit the perpetrators, forensic experts must upscale their knowledge, which the Institute is doing.

“To this end, we implore the government to look inwards whenever the services of forensic experts are required and to engage members of our Institute,” Ayeni said, adding that the institute was ready to join forces with the anti-crime agencies in the country to fight the illicit business to a stand-still.

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