The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said it has no plans to postpone the general election for whatever reason.
The electoral agency maintained its stance that everything 2019 elections will go on according to the initial plan, during the unveiling of a central election monitoring hub for Civil Society Organisations, CSOs.
INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, represented by one of his National commissioners, Mr Festus Okoye however agreed that the fire that consumed some election materials at three of its offices was a major drawback.
“INEC will be open and transparent through out the entire election process. We are going to be upfront with information relating to our processes and our procedures.”
“In relation to this particular elections, we had some challenges yesterday (Tuesday), but we were able to recover, and as I speak, we are moving all the Smart Card Readers required for the conduct of elections in Anambra State and we are not going to postpone the election in any part of Nigeria on grounds of some of these challenges
“As some of you are aware, this election will be conducted in over 120,000 polling units, and we also have over 50, 000 voting points. The voting points were created to ease the process of voting, especially for the Nigerian people.
“We have over 91 political parties that are registered in Nigeria and 73 of these political parties sponsored candidates for the presidential election.
“The process of collating the results manually will be issued out and INEC had decided that one collation officer per registration area cannot do the job and do it effectively and do it in such a way that the anxiety of the Nigerian people relating to who will be their next president will be addressed on time.
“Based on that, INEC has recruited two collation officers for each registration area and two collation officers for the 774 Local Government Areas. “So, the collation officer for the presidential election is different. The collation officer will collate and proceed and since the presidential election will move from the registration area to the local governments and then to the state before it gets to the Federal Capital Territory to the national collation center.
“While the collation officer for the Senatorial and the House of Representative elections will move and stop at a certain point where declaration will be made. In order for us not to keep the Nigerian people waiting for too long, we are going to have two collation officers in the 8,809 registration areas and two collation officers for the 774 LGAs in the country for the purposes of the first election.
“Secondly, we are going to conduct elections in all the IDP camps. During the continuous voter’s exercise, we asked all the Resident Electoral Commissioners in all the States with IDP problems, to document all eligible voters in the IDP camps.
“Those who lost their PVCs on account of misplacement, we replaced all their voters card, having satisfied ourselves that they were registered voters. We also registered new voters in the various IDP camps. “So we have made robust arrangement for them to vote because we don’t want to get any Nigerian disenfranchised.
“Thirdly, in relation to the role of the military in this election, the Electoral Act was amended in 2015 to give INEC specific functions in relation to deployment of the Nigerian Police Force and the military in elections.
“For this election, we are utilizing the services of the Nigerian Air Force in lifting sensitive materials like ballot papers and result sheets to the various states and to the various Central Banks and they are also lifting sensitive materials to difficult terrains. “Likewise, for the riverine areas, INEC will hire gun boats that will escort both the sensitive materials and the election personnel. The gunboats will be in the front and back to protect some of the young people that are going to be engaged in this elections.
“That will be the extent to which we are going to use the Nigerian military for the purpose of this election.
“Having said that, let me also reiterate the fact that the Nigerian military is also involved in internal security operations in almost 32 states of the federation and they are going to remain and do their internal security operations which has absolutely nothing to do with the conduct of these elections. “On behalf of INEC we want to thank the CSOs and international observers, and we pledge that we are going to corporate with everybody to give Nigerians an election they will be proud of”, Okoye added.