* Says election materials won’t be kept with CBN
*Detects 47,633 voters’ double registration in Ekiti
Chuks Okocha, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that the ballot papers for the 2023 elections would be printed locally because it has more than 180 days before the 2023 general election.
The electoral umpire has also confirmed that it would not keep sensitive electoral materials for the upcoming Ekiti State governorship election with the apex bank
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated these in Abuja while responding to questions at a dialogue on elections.
He further said that the ballot papers for the 2023 elections would be printed locally because it has much time more than 180 days before the 2023 general election.
Yakubu said that the ballot papers were printed outside Nigeria in the past elections because of the exigencies of time.
He disclosed because of the availability of time, the materials for the future elections would be printed locally.
According to him, this decision is to guarantee that electoral materials for the lined-up elections are not compromised.
Following the revelation that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele is a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), concerns had been raised about the sanctity of elections materials kept with the apex bank.
But Yakubu said: “Logistics in an election is much wider than the movement of sensitive material for the election. Take the case of Ekiti for instance, all non-sensitive materials have been delivered to Ado-Ekiti and they are in all the LGAs of the state.
But sensitive materials are usually delivered on behalf of the commission by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which are inspected in the presence of the bank and then moved out by our officials.
“I want to say that since INEC started this collaboration with the CBN, we have never experienced a single issue with the movement of materials. The agency has been such a good partner to the commission.
According to the INEC chairman’ chairman, “but we appreciate the current circumstances, and it is for that reason, pending the time we find an alternative, the materials for the Ekiti election will not be routed through the CBN.
We will move the material to the airport in Akure and move the material to our office in Ado Ekiti and do the distribution from there. We are not going to use CBN. And when it comes to the general election, we have to look for an alternative way of doing it.”, the INEC chairman stated.
INEC Gives EFCC Accounts Details of APC, PDP
The INEC chairman also disclosed that the electoral body has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the accounts details of the APC and the PDP.
On the continuous voter registration, the INEC chairman said that it is only the online registration of voters that was suspended as the transfer and physical registration are still ongoing.
The INEC chairman acknowledged the receipt of the letter from the EFCC to the commission and stated that it has replied to the anti-graft letter and provided all the information needed.
EFCC had in a letter under sections 38(1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004, demanded access to the accounts of the two leading political parties.
The EFCC in another letter, also signed by the Head of Operations, informed the managing directors of Access Bank and Polaris Bank in Abuja that it was investigating 14 accounts of the two dominant parties.
INEC said that apart from submitting to the EFCC all it required, accounts of political parties are usually audited six months after the general election
INEC Detects 47,633 Voters’ Double Registration in Ekiti
Meanwhile, as Ekiti State prepares for its June 18 governorship election, INEC has stated that it detected 47,633 voters’ double registration on its portal.
The commission averred that such people have had their registration invalidated to prevent double-voting during the election, with the aid of the Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) invented by INEC to sanitise its registers.
The INEC’s Head of Department, Information and Communication Technology, Titilayo Oderinde, made the revelation in Ado Ekiti yesterday during a one-day training workshop organised for Ekiti journalists in preparation for the impending governorship poll.
Oderinde, who elucidated on the BVAS application and its significance to the credibility of elections, said no individual can exercise double franchise during the election with the help of the ICT innovation.
He said: “During the just-concluded Continuous Voter Registration exercise declared by INEC for intending voters to update their registration, a total of 124,963 persons registered in Ekiti.
“But it will marvel you that when the number was subjected to BVAS scrutiny, a total of 47,633 were discovered to have registered twice and got expunged from the register.
“Though, the commission was so lenient that one of the double registrations was struck out leaving one for the voter to exercise his franchise. It does not apply to a gender, the offence was committed by both genders.
But I see no reason why people should be doing this when they can approach the commission for migration of their polling units, even if they leave their environment for another location.”
Also addressing the participants, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ekiti State, Dr Adeniran Tella, appealed to voters not to treat their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) as instruments for mere identification, saying they are to be deployed to vote on election day.
“PVCs are not designed as an identification card, it is for voting. We want to do away with this voter apathy and we are starting with the Ekiti election. I salute our women for participating well in registration. 71 per cent of them had also collected their PVCs.
We are assuring the People Living with Disabilities that their interests will be protected by the commission. They are Nigerians with inalienable rights to vote and we shall provide enabling environment for them to vote in this election, we have made adequate provision for them,” he explained.
The INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, added that part of the constitutional frameworks designed for the success of any election, is freedom of the press, warning that this shouldn’t be abused to prevent violence during the election.
Commission to Deploy 10,269 Personnel for Ekiti Guber Poll
In a related development, INEC has said that it is making plans to deploy a total of 10,269 personnel for the conduct of the Ekiti State governorship election.
Speaking at the INEC- Civil Society dialogue session on the Ekiti State Governorship Election organised by the Civil Society Situation Coalition, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ekiti State, Mr. Adeniran Tella said that preparations for the exercise is proceeding smoothly.
At the event held on Saturday in Abuja, Tella said that adequate arrangements are being made for logistics and election security, taking into consideration the challenges of the past.
On the engagement of personnel including the Adhoc staff, the REC said that members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has been put through training on the rudiments of the new BVAS technology being deployed by the commission for the election.
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