The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the general elections slated for Saturday, February 16th and Saturday, March 3rd, 2019. Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu says this has been necessitated as a result of “careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has postponed the general elections slated for Saturday, February 16th and Saturday, March 3rd, 2019. Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu says this has been necessitated as a result of “careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections.”
He says that the Commission has now decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, 23″ February 2019 while the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections is rescheduled to Saturday 9th March 2019
According to him, “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met on Friday. 15’h February 2019 and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 General Elections scheduled for Saturday, 16th February 2019 and Saturday, 2nd March 2019.”
“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the Commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible,” the INEC chairman says.
“Consequently, the Commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, 23″ February 2019. Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections is rescheduled to Saturday 9th March 2019. This will afford the Commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections.”
Yakubu says, “This was a difficult decision for the Commission to take, but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy,” revealing that “The Commission will meet key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2pm. on Saturday, l6lh February 2019 at the Abuja International Conference Centre.”
Many including observers and the citizenry, many of whom have travelled to far flung places in order to cast their lot, may have been largely taken aback by this early morning announcement of a change in plan by the INEC chairman in spite of earlier repeated assurances that the Commission was ready to roll out for the general elections.
Even against the backdrop of the fire that engulfed its offices in Plateau and Anambra states, the soothing revelation by National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye that the Commission had not only gotten the supply of new machines but also reprinted the permanent voters cards (PVCs) burnt in the inferno allayed frayed nerves.
Okoye, told Daily Trust last night that “everything necessary to ensure the success of the elections has been put in place by the commission.”
“We are airlifting election materials for both the Presidential and National Assembly elections. Some of the airlifts were from Abuja to Port Harcourt and Kano. And some of the contingents were conveying their materials from Kano. For instance the materials for Jigawa and Kano and other areas there were taken from Kano airport. The Central Bank gave them truck to transport them from Kano airport to the various destinations.”
“The materials for the South-South were delivered to the Port Harcourt Airport. It is massive operation. Most of these materials were heavy and it is only cargo airplanes that can airlift them to their various destinations. As at today (yesterday) the Nigerian Air force were using their C-130 and Hercules aircrafts.”
“So we are engaged in massive operations for the past three days till this night (last night). Our hope and prayer is that we will complete the airlift of the materials to all the states of the federation by tomorrow (today) morning so that the distribution to the local governments can be completed too,” Okoye said.
According to him, the Smart Card Readers (SCR) and the ballot boxes have gone to the local governments, even as the cubicles and others have been deployed and all the electoral officials are ready to go.
He said what remains is the complete airlift of the ballot papers to their destinations.
Okoye said one aircraft went to Maiduguri and could not land due to bad weather and had to return to Abuja. He said the materials were later taken to Kano and were on their way to Maiduguri by road.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, according to Okoye, was meeting the Chief of Air Staff for more aircrafts to compete the airlifts of materials, as this was same procedure adopted for 2015.
“So we are strongly partnering with the Nigeria Air Force as they are the ones with most of the aircraft that can do the shuttles,” Okoye said.
He said the chairman was also in constant consultation with the Central Bank of Nigeria governor where the commission was depositing materials, and the Nigeria Custom Service as some of the aircraft were landing at INECairports and had to be cleared to land and take off.
On the recent fire in the commission’s office in Awka, he said the Anambra State REC has reconfigured the SCR in 14 local governments and others would be completed by today (yesterday).
Okoye told Daily Trust that the commission has also re-printed virtually all the PVCs burnt in its offices in Abia and Plateau states.
The elections has also been characterised by violence particularly in Taraba, Rivers, Kano and Kaduna where 66 people were massacred by unknown gun men in Kajuru Local Government Area1 comment