JUST-IN: INEC reveals total number of party agents to participate in general election

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that a total of 1,574, 301 polling units agents would take part in the 2023 elections.

The electoral body made this known in a report released yesterday, titled, “Summary of Polling Unit and Collation Centre agents submitted by political parties submitted for the general 2023”.INEC also revealed that a total of 68,057 would also participate in the forthcoming elections has collation agents.The polling and collation agents were nominated by the 18 political parties as their representatives in the 2023 elections.A breakdown of the report showed that the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) has 176, 200 agents, while Labour party has 134, 874 agents, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has 176,588 agents, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has 176,223 agents, while other 14 political parties have a total number of 910,426 agents.

Also, the report revealed that a total number 68,057 would also participate in the elections as collation agents in the registration area/war, local government and state.Further breakdown according to the report showed that NNPP has 9,604; LP 4,859; PDP – 9,539; APC – 9,581, while other 14 political parties have 34,474 as collation officers.The INEC report also revealed that 27 people would serve as agents at the National collation centre.The ruling APC has two, same as PDP and LP, while NNPP has one and the other 14 political parties have 20 agents.

Meanwhile, the absence of INEC yesterday stalled hearing in a suit seeking an order compelling the electoral umpire to permit registered voters without the Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVC) participate in the general election which commences on Saturday.Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court, Abuja had last week adjourned to February 20, for INEC to file it’s counter-affidavit and other necessary processes in the suit.

The court had ordered the plaintiffs to serve INEC with court processes shortly after it declined to abridge time in which INEC could file its counter affidavit to the originating summons.When the matter was called yesterday, there was no representation for the electoral body, even as plaintiffs’ counsel Mr. Victor Opatola, informed the court that the respondent was served the suit last week, in line with the order of the court.However, after confirming that INEC was still within the time allowed by law to reply to the suit, the court accordingly adjourned till Wednesday for hearing.

The plaintiffs, Kofoworola Olusegun and Wilson Allwell in the suit filed on February 8, and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/180/2023, were asking the court to determine, “Whether by the true construction and interpretation of section 10(2), 12(1) and 47 of the Electoral Act 2022; Section 77(2) and 132(5) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), and bearing in mind that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine introduced by the defendant only needs the thumbprint and/or facial recognition to accredit a voter.“Whether a person whose name appears in the electronic format in the Defendant’s central database and manual, printed paper based record or hard copy format of the Register of Voters and has been assigned a Voter’s Identification Number (VIN), can be said to be entitled to be accredited to vote with his/her Temporary Voter’s Card, in the forthcoming General Election to be conducted by the Defendant.

Whether by the true construction and interpretation of section 10(2), 12(1) and 47 of the Electoral Act 2022; Section 77(2) and 132(5) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) the plaintiffs, bearing in mind that the BVAS Machine introduced by the INEC only needs the thumbprint and/or facial recognition to accredit a person whose name appears in its central database and manual printed paper based record or hard copy format of the Register of Voters and has been assigned a Voter’s Identification Number (VIN).“Whether such a person can as a consequence of the defendant’s inabilities, actions and omission be disenfranchised of the right and entitlement to vote in the forthcoming 2023 general election.”However,, INEC in Adamawa State has disclosed that it has received 4,104 Bimodal Voter Accreditation System(BVAS) for the 2023 general election in the state.

Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of the State, Hudu Yunusa Ali, made the disclosure during a press conference convened in Yola, yesterday.He explained that additional 275 BVAS were expected from INEC’s headquarters as back up for the elections.According to Ali, the Commission would deploy all the configured BVAS to the 21 local government areas midweek for charging, in readiness for the elections.He said the Commission would also deploy technology for transmitting election results from the polling units known as IRev.

Ali also confirmed the receipt of non-sensitive materials from the zonal office in Gombe State, including ballot boxes, voting cubicles, election bags, liquid gum, colour printer, maintenance kits, toners and Micro Dry Dip, First aid kits, among others.“Over 80 per cent of our non-sensitive materials have been supplied and moved to the 21 LGAs in the state while sensitive materials for the 25th February, 2023 presidential/NASS election has been delivered to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Yola.

“We have engaged the NURTW, NARTO and maritime workers on the provision of vehicles for transportation across the 21 local councils in the state following the certification by Federal Road Safety Corp(FRSC) for the elections,” the REC explained.Also, ahead of Saturday’s polls, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday charged security agencies to beef up security around INEC’s offices and facilities.

In a statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba said that the warning was against the background of apprehensions in the public space of alleged plots by certain APC interests to launch a coordinated attack on INEC offices and facilities in various parts of the country, with the objective of destroying the Commission’s BVAS machines so as to cripple INEC’s ability to conduct the elections.

He said the party had earlier alerted of series of alleged designs by some frustrated and violence-inclined APC governors and the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign to cause widespread crisis, truncate the elections, subvert the democracy and impose an undemocratic situation in the country.According to the spokesman of the party, “Credible information available to our party indicates that the said APC interests which are bent at scuttling the elections to avoid a humiliating defeat are allegedly mobilising thugs to launch fresh attacks on INEC offices and its facilities where BVAS machines are located.

Some prominent APC leaders including certain APC governors, having failed in their designs to have the elections postponed and having also been resisted in their plot to use their orchestrated cash scarcity to destabilise the nation, are now allegedly plotting to cripple INEC’s ability to conduct the elections by destroying the BVAS machines.”Ologunagba said the APC leaders and their apologists have evidently revealed themselves as clear and present threat not only to the electoral process but also to our corporate existence as a nation and must be resisted by all.

In view of this, he said, “The PDP therefore charges the security agencies to take all necessary steps to provide adequate protection for INEC facilities, equipment and personnel before, during and after the elections.“We also call on President Muhammadu Buhari to put all measures in place for free, fair, transparent and credible elections in keeping with his assurances to Nigerians and the International Community.