By Nwangwu Uba
the last may not have been heard about the postponement of the Saturday , February 16, 2019, Presidential and National Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Appearing before on Channels Television last Sunday, Mike Ogini, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Akwa Ibom state, may have opened a can of worms when he said the political parties and the petitions arising from the party primaries and Court injunctions ‘s should be blamed for the Commission decision.
Igini, the Akwa Ibom state, REC, confirmed that as at present there are about 640 Court cases by aggrieved politicians joining the electoral umpire and a total of 14 Court orders asking the Commission to add or remove a name. He may have alluded tothe Social Democratic Party, SPP. Initially , the party had submitted the name of Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross river state as the presidential candidate but there a Court order asking INEC to substiture the with that of Jerry Gana, a former minister of Information and National Orientation under the former Olusegun Obasanjo Administration Administration. It was said to have been done but Duke’s name found his way back on the INEC list through the Court process. Giving an insider information, the Akwa Ibom state REC, explained that the issues arising from the party primaries caused a delay in the ” printing 0f ballot papers for the election an indication that the Commission was not ready for the election.
He stated stated further that the parties did not help matters by” keeping to the election timetable and detailed electoral activities , prepared by Commission” , thus mounting pressure on them.
He insists that the parties derailed INEC, in carrying out its mandate of
In a voice laden with emotions on Channels, he said,”’ following the production of the ballot paper , the Commission was faced with another hurdle of moving the heavy ballot boxes across the country by air and road.. He said the Commission did everything within its powers to move the items to the states but time was not on its side.
Not that it had engaged the services of the Nigerian AirForce, which started airlifting the heavy ballot boxes and ballot papers to the state which were received at the various airports across the country by INEC and Central Bank of Nigeria officials under tight security. That was how far , INEC could go.
Recall that Mahmood Yakubu a Professor and Chairman, INEC, who had emerged from a closed door meeting with top officials of the Commission late hours in the early hours of Saturday, February 16, 2019, had justified the postponement of the election to logistical challenges and disruptions by fire disasters in some of its offices across the country as the Commission was forced pay attention to recovery of election materials than preparing for the conduct of the election. In preparing for the election , Yakubu disclosed that the Commission that recruited and trained about one million adhoc staff, mostly Youth Corpers.
Many believe that INEC and the APC , prepared the ground to derail the election. This is because there had been making the rounds that the APC , on their own , had trained , electoral officials that would take over from the INEC recruited and trained adhoc staff and nothing was done about it. It was learnt that the parties used the waiting time to perfect plans to replace the real INEC adhoc staff with the fake ones at the polling booths to facilitate the rigging in the election.
The protest in Borno state by over 300 Youth Corpers ”adhoc” staff in Borno state over the replacement by people speaks volume, presumed to be APC supporters in the state speaks volume.
According to the NYSC members , their names came out on the first list , but on getting to the various polling centers, , their names have been substituted with other names. The situation was the same in other parts of the country , which was suggestive that some INEC officials have connived with the politicians to replace their names with party faithfuls. The situation was the same in parts of the country forcing Suleiman Kazuare, a Brigadier General and Director General, NYSC, to speak out , that the NYSC adhoc staff cannot be be replaced unilaterally by INEC or group of persons. This may have forced INEC officials to go back to the drawing board to put things right as Yakubu, the INEC boss declared that they made ”adequate provision for the adhoc staff” and there was no plan to replace the Corpers who had been released by the NYSC Secretariat and trained for the election. Who is fooling who, INEC?
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