From Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
Less than 16 hours to the presidential and National Assembly elections, anxiety has continued to mount in Taraba State over the non-arrival of sensitive electoral materials in the state.
THISDAY investigations reveal that the sensitive materials, which are very crucial to the conduct of the election are yet to arrive Jalingo from where they are expected to be distributed to other parts of the state as at 4.00pm.
Following the non-arrival of the materials, there are indications that the elections may not hold as scheduled in several parts of the state due to the difficult terrain and topography of the state.
Accreditation exercise is expected to begin by 8.00am across the country while it would take more than 16 hours to access some parts of the state, especially Sardauna Local Government and Ngada development area where there are communities that cannot be accessed by road except motorcycles and bikes.
An official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity, said the materials were on the way and would arrive before evening.
But a resident of Jalingo, Yuguda Bitrus, who expressed displeasure over the delay in the arrival of the materials, alleged that it may be a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise the people of the state.
According to him, “There is no justification for delay in the arrival of the sensitive materials. Though INEC has given assurances that the materials would soon arrive the state, we are compelled to believe that the delay is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise the people of the state which is a worse form of rigging.”
Also lamenting the non-arrival of the materials to the state, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku told THISDAY that the delay would certainly affect the conduct of the elections in the state, as he appealed to INEC to urgently intervene in the matter.