From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, reassured Nigerians that only the votes from eligible electorate will decide the outcome of the 2023 general election barely 25 days to presidential poll.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance in his address while hosting a team of visitors from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) led by its President, Anthony Banbury.

He also used the event to extol the former INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, equally on the entourage of the of the IFES, for conducting an election adjudged as one of the best ever in 2015.

Yakubu also promised to continue to improve on what he inherited, assuring that the next election is expected to be hitch free due to the measures already put in place by the commission including the use of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) for accreditation of voters.

“In 2023, the work of action of the voters is the most significant any where in the world this year. IFES Nigeria will work to collaborate in the achievement of this work. Every Nigerian agrees to the work that Jega did, while at the commission, in strengthening democracy and electoral integrity in the country. I want to congratulate you for carrying on this work schedule since 2015.

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“When one look at the record of what Nigeria has to offer in terms of democracy, you will agree that it has been very significant and there are few countries in the world that can boast of such a proud record in electoral integrity in such a very short period.

“Now with the elections around the corner, we all know that there is much work to be done especially after February 25. We are also here to learn how IFES can do a better job,” he said.

IFES President, Banbury, said they have confidence in the ability of INEC to conduct an election that will be generally accepted to be free, fair and credible.

He also assured that IFES Nigeria will continue to partner with INEC to ensure that the nation’s electoral system meets the aspirations of the Nigerian people.