- The chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, says the commission has no power to force candidates to debate
- He said this during the commission's quarterly consultative meeting in Abuja on Thursday, October 27
- The INEC boss acknowledged that most candidates are scared to debate for fear of making mistakes while attempting probing questions
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FCT, Abuja - Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) has finally addressed the notion that the commission has the power to sanction a debate between candidates.
While speaking at the quarterly consultative meeting with the media and other stakeholders in Abuja on Thursday, October 27, Prof Yakubu said the commission does not have such powers.
He acknowledged that the initiative of a debate was a good one as it will keep electorates abreast of whom they should cast their votes for.
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Prof Yakubu said:
“I am not sure we can compel someone to attend the debate. You cannot do that. Even in most advanced countries, you can’t compel someone to do anything in a democracy. Debate, just like voting, is a democratic right. We know debates are to make citizens better informed."
"Most candidates are scared to debate to avoid mistakes" - INEC chairman
He further acknowledged that in most cases candidates prefer not to attend a debate so as to avoid making mistakes or talking out of context, which in turn might change the minds of the electorates about them.
Professor Yakubu also acknowledged the efforts of election debate groups for setting up debates for the Nigerian people to truly see and know whom they want to cast their votes for.
The commission's chairman also noted that he has received several complaints from other political parties who are not pleased that they were not invited for debates.
2023 polls: "Nobody can hack our devices" - INEC boasts
In another development, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Nigerians that its electronic devices deployed for the 2023 elections cannot be hacked.
Jude Okwuonu, the administrative secretary of INEC in Anambra state, gave the assurance in a sensitisation workshop held for newsmen.
Emeka Nnaji, the head of department, ICT/VR, also spoke on the measures INEC has put in place to ensure hackers do not tamper with the devices.