• Completes reconfiguration of SCRs

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again assured Nigerians that it is ready to conduct the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, having completed 100 per cent reconfiguration of the Smart Card Readers (SCRs).

Its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this Wednesday while addressing a press conference to update Nigerians on the preparedness of the commission.

He stated: “At Tuesday’s briefing, we reported that we achieved 95 per cent configuration of the Smart Card Readers (SCR) nationwide. 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.

“Similarly, I briefed you yesterday that our state offices had commenced the process of inviting stakeholders to the Central Bank of Nigeria to examine the retrieved materials deployed last week and to witness the batching of materials according to local government areas. Reports from the states indicate full compliance.

“Similarly, I briefed you yesterday (Tuesday) that having moved the sensitive materials to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the forward deployment to the 774 local government areas nationwide will commence today Wednesday, February 20, 2019 and be concluded tomorrow Thursday, February 21, 2019.’’

He said that already, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina, Osun, Ogun, Oyo and Taraba States have commenced the movement of materials to local government areas today, while other states will do so and conclude tomorrow, promised to give a full rendition of movement to local government areas across all states of the federation on Thursday.

“We have been making good progress on logistics. Similarly, all other arrangements for the movement of personnel from the local government areas to the Wards are on course. We will fully brief you tomorrow at 3p.m.”
Meanwhile, the Eastern Peoples Front (EPF) has said that it was taken aback by the decision of the INEC to reschedule the planned February 16 national elections.

The group was of the opinion that the postponement suggested foul play capable of disrupting free, fair and credible elections, stressing that it was equally not too sure about the status of sensitive election materials that had been posted by the commission to some parts of the country, while demanding a third-party verification of the materials.

The group in a statement Wednesday by its National Coordinator, Mr. Ken Emechebe, called on security agencies not to yield to President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives on ballot box snatching, advising everyone, however, not to be used to destabilise the elections.

He stated: “Nigerians will resist any untoward actions from them to subvert their collective desires to send Buhari and APC packing.’’