The national chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Prof Mahmood Yakubu has called on the United Nations to come to his Commission assistance as the country prepares for fresh general elections next year.

Professor Yakubu made the appeal on Monday while playing host to the United Nations Need Assessment Mission on the 2019 general election.

The INEC chairman specifically listed his area of need to include, capacity building for staff, voters’ education and sensitization and the electoral legal framework.

INEC also demanded the support of the world body on “capacity building for political parties, electoral conflict mitigation, inclusiveness, particularly of women, youths and persons with

Yakubu noted that over the years, the UN has been providing critical support to INEC in its onerous task to introduce and sustain reforms of the electoral system in Nigeria.

Professor Yakubu told the team that his Commission was determined to build on the legacy of free, fair and credible elections, bequeathed by his predecessor in office, as he further declared that INEC has registered over 74 million voters and further hinted that the figure would rise.

He also informed the visiting UN officials that there are 119,973 polling units, 8,809 electoral wards and 1,553 constituencies for which elections would be conducted in 2019.

He said: “Over the last two electoral cycles (2010-2015 and 2015-2019), the Commission has deliberately and purposefully embarked upon far-reaching reforms of the electoral system not only in terms of operational procedures (e.g. changes in voting procedures and enhancing the physical security features on the ballot papers, ballot boxes, and result sheets, the reorganisation of the Commission’s administrative structures, capacity building and professionalisation for the staff; instituting the long-term planning processes; introduction of technology such as biometric registration and authentication process (permanent voters’ cards and smart card readers), collation and results management as well as the trafficking and monitoring of electoral activities.”

Nigerian Tribune