The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said Nigeria’s population is over 20 million more than the combined voter population of 14 countries in West Africa.
This is as the commission has also projected a voter population of about 95 million for the 2023 general election.
INEC chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the Election Security Management Training organised by the Nigeria Police at the International Conference Centre, in Abuja.
The workshop was convened by the Inspector General of Police on security management training for Police and other security personnel ahead of the 2023 general election.
Yakubu, who described the workshop as a laudable initiative, commended the IGP for planning to extend such to the six geo-political zones.
According to him, election preparations, deployment, and implementation constitute the most extensive mobilisation that could happen in a country, whether in peacetime or wartime.
Yakubu said: “In Nigeria, it involves the recruitment and training of staff and managing the logistics for their deployment to 176,846 Polling Units spread across 8,809 electoral Wards, 774 Local Areas and 37 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“It also involves a projected voter population of about 95 million for the 2023 General Election which is over 20 million more than the combined voter population of the other 14 countries in West Africa.”
He said voters will also elect candidates for 1,491 constituencies 1 Presidential, 28 governorship elections, 109 Senatorial Districts, 360 Federal Constituencies and 993 State Assembly seats).
He said ensuring the safety and security of voters, election personnel and materials, candidates, party agents, observers, the media and transporters are enormous.
“This responsibility has become more challenging in the context of the current security situation in the country.
“I am glad that the Nigeria Police as the lead agency in election security has once again demonstrated its leadership role by convening this Workshop. With about seven months to the next General Election, there is time for proactive measures to ensure that the entire country is secure for election to hold nationwide,” he said.
According to him, in addition to physical security, the workshop will also focus on deepening the capacity of the security personnel to imbibe and comply with global standards of election security management.
He said that already, INEC, under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), had produced and periodically revised the code of conduct and rules of engagement for security personnel on electoral duty.
Yakubu added that in the next few weeks, the code of conduct, as well as our training manuals, would be revised to align them with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and to consolidate the professionalism displayed by the security agencies in the recent off-cycle elections.
He added the INEC would also intensify its cascade training for security personnel ahead of the 2023 General Election.
“I wish to reassure the Inspector General of Police, heads of other security agencies and all members of ICCES that the Commission will continue to work in synergy with you to ensure a safe and secure environment for the 2023 General Election.
“It is a critical election and we must all continue to work together to protect the will of the Nigerian people,” he said.