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INEC distributes election materials as Buhari meets security chiefs



Ahead of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday commenced the distribution of sensitive materials in states including Lagos, Benue, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun.

Also, as part of the preparations for the polls, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday met with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he said INEC had no excuse not to conduct successful polls.

In no fewer than nine states, the electoral commission stepped up preparations through the distribution of sensitive materials to local government areas.

In Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, the Resident National Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Ayobami Salami, at 10am, met with security agencies and officials of the commission before the distribution of the materials to local government areas.

Salami, who spoke at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ado Ekiti branch, venue of the distribution, said early distribution of the materials “is an indication that INEC has put everything in place and we are not leaving everything till the last minute.

“We are to assure Nigerians that we are fully ready for the elections and the materials are ready on time and being distributed on time and will get to locations on time and elections will hold on schedule.

“I can assure you, as you can see, that all our electoral officers in all the local governments are here with their vehicles to convey the materials to the various local government areas. That is an indication that logistics issues have been resolved. We have the money that we need to conduct this election and we have the fuel for the vehicles that will be used,” he said.

The exercise also commenced in Ondo State, where our correspondent observed on Wednesday that the sensitive materials were moved from the Akure branch of the CBN to the headquarters of each of the 18 local government areas of the state in the company of heavily armed security agents.

Commenting on the development, the Acting Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Oyekola Oyelami, stated that the process was smooth while proper arrangements were made to ensure that the materials get to the council areas.

The exercise was carried out in Lagos under the heavy presence of security agencies at the CBN headquarters, Marina, Lagos.

The Lagos State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, told journalists at the CBN office in Marina that all the materials would be distributed on Wednesday to the LGAs where the electoral officers from each council would do the final distributions on the election day.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Benue State, Sam Egwu, took delivery of sensitive materials from the CBN branch in Makurdi.

The spokesman for the commission in Benue State, Terkaa Andyar, said the commission would send the materials to the local government areas on Thursday.

“It is late now; so what the commission decided is that we are dispatching the materials to local governments that are close by while others who are far away will receive their materials tomorrow (today),’’ he explained.

INEC began dispatching election materials and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System to the 18 LGAS in Cross Rivers State on Wednesday.

Our correspondent observed the equipment being loaded into trucks at the INEC state headquarters in Calabar on Wednesday.

The deployment was witnessed by the representatives of political parties and security officials.

Before the materials were distributed, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof Gabriel Yomere, said “no big man would be allowed to come out on election day with his orderly.”

The distribution of electoral materials to the 13 council areas in Nasarawa State has also commenced.

Speaking with journalists on Wednesday after inspecting the materials at the CBN, Lafia branch, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Uthman Ajidagba, said the commission was ready to conduct a free, fair and credible election.

He disclosed that the ballot papers, result sheets and BVAS machines would be distributed to the 3,245 polling units across the state.

Our correspondent reports that security operatives, officials of various political parties and candidates witnessed the distribution of the materials.


Culled from The PUNCH

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