- The office set ablaze early hours today 729 ballot boxes, 243 voting cubicles, 256 election bags destroyed.
- Uncollected PVCs not affected by inferno
- 2023 General Election Will hold
Anambra, Nigeria—In a major setback just three weeks before the 2023 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State was attacked and set ablaze by unknown gunmen. The attack resulted in the loss of crucial election materials, including 729 ballot boxes, 243 voting cubicles, 256 election bags, 11 megaphones, one electric power generator, and large quantities of indelible ink and liquid gum. The incident took place early Tuesday morning and was promptly reported to the authorities.
According to eyewitnesses, several individuals broke into the INEC office and vandalized the premises, causing widespread damage to election materials. The attackers are yet to be identified, and an investigation into the matter is currently underway. The destruction of these election materials has raised serious concerns about the integrity of the upcoming election and the ability of INEC to conduct a fair and transparent vote.
INEC’s National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, confirmed the attack and stated that the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra State, Dr. Queen Elizabeth Agwu, had reported the incident. Okoye reassured the public that no sensitive materials have been delivered to the LGA office, and the uncollected Permanent Voter Cards kept in the fireproof cabinet were not affected by the fire. The Commission has issued a statement condemning the attack and promising to take all necessary steps to secure the remaining election materials.
The Nigerian government and political parties have expressed their concern over the attack and have called for a thorough investigation into the matter. Some have even called for additional measures to be taken to protect election materials and ensure the integrity of the electoral process. The international community is closely monitoring the situation, and the outcome of the election will have far-reaching implications for Nigeria’s political stability.
Despite the attack, INEC remains committed to ensuring that the election is held fairly and transparently. The Commission has stated that contingency arrangements will be made to replace the lost materials, and the presidential and national assembly elections will proceed as scheduled on February 25th, 2023, followed two weeks later by the state house of assembly election.
The attack on the INEC office in Anambra State is not an isolated incident, as there have been several reports of election-related violence in different parts of Nigeria in the lead up to the 2023 general election. The Nigerian government and INEC have been working to address these issues and ensure that the election is held in a peaceful and secure environment. However, the attack on the INEC office in Anambra State has raised serious concerns about the security of election materials and the ability of INEC to conduct a fair and transparent election.
The importance of a fair and transparent election cannot be overstated, as it is a cornerstone of democracy and a key factor in the stability of any nation. A free and fair election gives citizens the opportunity to choose their leaders and hold them accountable, and it is essential for the development and progress of any society. The attack on the INEC office in Anambra state has the potential to undermine the credibility of the 2023 general election and to damage the stability of Nigeria as a whole.
In conclusion, the INEC office in Anambra state has suffered a major setback in the lead up to the 2023 general election, with the destruction of over 700 ballot boxes and 243 voting cubicles, along with other election materials worth millions of naira. The attack raises serious concerns about the integrity of the upcoming vote and the ability of INEC to conduct a fair and transparent election. The Nigerian government and political parties have called for a thorough investigation.
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