With less than 50 days to the 2023 general elections, opinions are divided by Nigerians on the perceived readiness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make the process seamless and deliver a credible election. The elections will be kick-started with the presidential and the federal legislative elections on February 25, 2023. It is
With less than 50 days to the 2023 general elections, opinions are divided by Nigerians on the perceived readiness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make the process seamless and deliver a credible election. The elections will be kick-started with the presidential and the federal legislative elections on February 25, 2023.
It is being projected that this year’s election would witness unprecedented turnout in the history of elections in the country. It is also being speculated that participation by the youth may be massive as the campaigns from the politicians have targeted the teeming youth population.
But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as the elections umpire has given assurances on several platforms that the coming polls will be credible, free, and fair and has committed to its impartiality. The Chairman of the Commission said INEC’s loyalty is to Nigeria, not any individual, not any other institution.
There have been challenges, like the attacks on INEC facilities in some states of the federation and hiccups being experienced in the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards to registrants, a lot of Nigerians could attest to INEC’s commitment to be transparent in its processes and activities, often taking the cameras along to wherever it engages Nigerians and other partnering institutions like security agencies and the NYSC.
Nigerian Democratic Report (NDR) went to town to sample public opinion on their perception towards the upcoming election; INEC’s readiness and whether they believe the election would be free and fair.
Mrs. Chinansa Ifeanyi, a phone seller, believes INEC was ready for the general elections,” INEC is doing a good job and we can all see it. They said there will be a machine that will prevent rigging. Also, they are giving people their PVCs at the time I went there. For me, I think they are ready. But I do not know if people will go out to vote, so I cannot say if people will go out to vote. You know many people will just stay inside because of the fear of trouble. We need to pray to God to make the elections peaceful.
Mr. Seyi Omoodun, a public bus driver in Agege motor park, doubts our readiness. “Nigerians are not ready for the coming election, as there is a tendency for political violence to disrupt the coming elections. He noted that the politicians are already recruiting some hoodlums to create chaos during the elections.
“Brother, I will not lie to you, I do not think the election will be peaceful and I am not sure we are ready in Nigeria yet. Look at those Agberos that are collecting money from us every day, who are they reporting to? Politicians. Now, do you not know that those Agberos are the ones the politicians are training to cause trouble during the election? I can tell you that as you are looking at them, they do not care about the consequences of violence, they are ready to cause pandemonium on behalf of the politicians they work for. We know that INEC is trying but they cannot control the territory like the boys”
Mrs. Bolanle Momudale, a trader and an elderly woman believes that Nigerians and INEC are ready for the election, indicating that the coming polls will revive the lost hope in the country. She noted that it is the duty of every Nigerian to perform their duties to make the nation a better place.
“As a Nigerian, I believe we are ready. This state of this country needs to change and there is no other way to have a changed system than we coming out to cast our votes without any fear. We need the government to find solutions to problems of insecurity, food scarcity, and economic problem. I know that INEC too will do what is right to make our votes count, so we believe they are ready, but we must still pray to God against bloodshed in this country, she noted.
Another respondent, Miss Mercy Peters, a student noted that youth as well as other Nigerians are ready for the coming elections. According to her, “it is obvious that INEC is working round the clock to make the coming polls better than the past ones. I think we are ready for the general election, and I know that INEC is doing what they are supposed to do to make us all participate in the elections. We know that 2023 is the year for we the youth and we are prepared to make it work out.”
Funso Ayanfe, another student was not convinced that Nigerians were ready for the coming elections yet. He noted that the current events do not indicate that the polls are less than 50 days away. He opined that his engagement with youth has shown that there is still voter apathy among them, as the majority of them might vote during the elections.
“The election is actually coming close and we are about to get to the electioneering period but I do not see the atmosphere resembling that because what we have now is the buzzling we have always had yet, elections are less than two months. Even the political parties are not investing much of their energy into the campaign like they used to. I have been to the INEC office like three or five times. People are not really interested in collecting their PVCs. The last time I went there, I saw some youth and I engaged them, I got to know that many of them are just shouting on social media that they are not really interested in voting, they just want to have PVCs”.
On INEC preparation, “I will still rate them 7 out 10, because I went to check there and they have all cards ready. But the reason I am not giving them full rating is because I registered but they made a mistake, but when I went there to recapture my data but when I went there on the appointed date, they said it wasn’t on ground yet. Imagine if they don’t print it before the time elapses, what would I do?”
Jide Alawode, a civil servant believes only the youth are ready for the coming elections, saying that most Nigerians, the elite class, are still sceptical about the elections. He said many people have lost hope in Nigerian elections, despite INEC efforts to get people involved. “I think a larger part of the youths are ready but there is a part of Lagos who feels the elections is just a kangaroo and the people who are ready to govern know themselves despite the education from INEC and CSOs, he said.