INEC: February 23, March 9 Polls Sacrosanct

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  • Begins audit of electoral materials for shortfalls
By Adedayo Akinwale in AbujaFollowing the uneventful postponement of the general election scheduled to take place on February 16th, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has  assured Nigerians that the presidential and National Assembly elections rescheduled for February 23 and the governorship and state House of Assembly, as well as federal Capital Territory Area Council elections for March 9, 2019 remain sacrosanct.To this end, the commission has commenced the auditing of electoral materials to identify possible shortfall, and gaps, adding that remedial steps and action would be taken as soon as any shortfall is identified.

The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, told THISDAY that the commission would start the deployment of sensitive materials early enough without compromising their security and confidentiality.

He revealed that the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has outlined six concrete steps to actualise the February 23, 2019 elections.

Okoye stated: “These steps are cogent and verifiable and are already operational. The Commission is engaged in reverse logistics since some of the sensitive materials have been deployed from the Central Bank of the various states to the local government offices of the Commission.

“The Commission is auditing the materials to identify possible shortfall and gaps and remedial steps and action will be taken as soon as any shortfall is identified.

“The Commission has recalled all the Smart Card Readers in all the states of the federation for reconfiguration. The Commission is deploying additional Registration Area Technical Support staff to Lagos State with over 14,000 Smart Card Readers and Kano State with over 11,000 Smart Card Readers.

“The Commission had configured the Smart Card Readers to become operational on Saturday the 16th day of February 2019 at 8am and to shut down at a particular time. Since the Commission rescheduled the election, the Smart Card Readers must be reconfigured to capture the new date and the new time.

“The Commission will start the deployment of sensitive material early enough without compromising their security and confidentiality. We will also make sure that all the ad hoc staff engaged for the election are paid their due and remobilised to the various Registration Area Centers,” he added.

Okoye stated categorically that the electoral body is confident that all the materials are in place and its processes are geared towards the conduct of all the strands of elections.