The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has announced that it will complete the deployment of sensitive election materials to all 774 local government areas for the Saturday elections by Thursday, (Today).
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, while addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja observed seamless progress on logistics for the rescheduled elections.
“I briefed you yesterday that having moved the sensitive materials to the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, the forward deployment to the 774 LGAs nationwide will commence today Wednesday Feb. 20 and be concluded tomorrow Thursday Feb. 21.
“Already, 10 states; Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina, Osun, Ogun, Oyo and Taraba States have commenced the movement of materials to LGAs today.
“Other States will do so and conclude tomorrow. We will give a full rendition of movement to LGAs across all States of the Federation tomorrow.
“We have been making good progress on logistics. Similarly, all other arrangements for the movement of personnel from the LGAs to the Wards are on course. We will fully brief you tomorrow at 3pm.’’
Yakubu also disclosed that the commission had achieved 100 per cent completion of the configuration of the Smart Card Readers for the elections.
“The Card Readers were introduced in the 2015 general elections to facilitate the accreditation of voters using the PVCs. They are configured to specific polling units and only open for use at 8am on Election Day.
“They automatically shut down by 10 pm in order to forestall any illegal use before the appointed time of elections. I am pleased to report that we have now achieved 100 per cent completion of the configuration. We are good to go on this score.’’
He added that INEC state offices had fully complied with the directive to invite stakeholders to the Central Bank of Nigeria to examine the retrieved materials deployed last week and to witness their distributions to LGAs.
Yakubu said that the commission had made specific arrangement on deployment and security of election materials and personnel in the riverine areas to ensure that elections also start on time there.
“We have made elaborate arrangement with boat owners as well as the security forces that would accompany our materials and personnel.’’
Yakubu, who said that the commission was not under any pressure, said the fact that some of the political parties were making counter accusations over INEC process was normal, adding that it shows there was something INEC was doing right.
Clarifying on payment for its ad hoc staff; Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers, Yakubu said that the sum of N17,500 comprised of N4,500 for training per head, N9,000 for honorarium and N4,000 for deployment would be paid for the first election.
“For the second election because training is not involved they will get 13,000 because no training is involved.’’
He also promised that information on permanent Voter Cards collected and uncollected would be available tomorrow.
Yakubu added that the commission was working to improve the condition of the members of the National Youth Serving Corps that would be participating in the elections.
He said that the commission was working with the Director-General of the NYSC to improve on the welfare of the corps members.
Yakubu said that the commission would obey the Supreme Court judgment that the All Progressives Congress (APC) not participate in the state election in Rivers.
The Chairman gave the assurance that the commission was committed to complete the national election on time but would not sacrifice credibility on the alter of speed.