The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has concluded arrangement for a hitch-free Governorship and State Assembly polls as well as rescheduled Enugu East Senatorial Zone poll on March 18 in Enugu State.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Enugu State, Dr Chukwuemeka Chukwu, announced the readiness of the commission at a news conference in Enugu on Wednesday.
Mr Chukwu said that the conference was to inform the electorate in the state about the commission’s preparedness to conduct a peaceful, hitch-free, credible and fair election on March 18.
He noted that that INEC in Enugu State had received sensitive materials from its national headquarters at the beginning of the week, saying that the materials were all stored and kept safe at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Enugu branch.
According to him, INEC officials (on Monday) and heads of security agencies (on Tuesday) have gone to inspect the sensitive materials and all have testified that the sensitive materials are still intact.
“INEC Enugu will start moving the sensitive materials to its local government area offices on Thursday, March 16, from the CBN in presence of security personnel and political party representatives and the media.
“On Friday, March, 17; the same sensitive materials will be moved from the local government area offices to the various Registration Area Centres (RAC) in the presence of security personnel, political party agents and the media.
“At the RAC, the sensitive materials and other non-sensitive materials will be sorted out and ready for upward movement to the 4,145 polling units across the state on or before 8 a.m. on Saturday; since voting will start 8:30 a.m. on the dot on March 18,” he said.
Mr Chukwu noted that the commission had completed the reconfiguring of 4,145 Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines, meant for the March 18 polls, a day ago.
“They are ready for the commission to deploy them simultaneously as the other sensitive materials are moving to the designated polling units on the election day,” he said.
The electoral commissioner said that he had received concrete assurances from security agencies of their readiness and pro-active deployment of their personnel for the election.
“In our last Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting; the commission received overwhelming assurances that security will be water-tight on the election day and that security agencies have made all necessary manpower deployment,” he said.
Mr Chukwu said that he had met with the transport unions’ leaders with their executives and drivers and they had assured that there would be no hitch.
“The transporters clearly told INEC management staff that the failure that occurred in the Feb. 25 polls will never repeats itself again,” he said.
He said that the commission would conclude all its retraining and refresher training for all ad-hoc staff – presiding officers, assistant presiding officers, supervisors, collation officers and returning officers by Friday morning, March 17 and all duly posted immediately.
Mr Chukwu said that INEC would be conducting election in 4,145 polling units in 260 Registration Areas (or political wards) and 17 local government areas of the state.
“So the elections will be for the governorship, 24 state constituency offices as well as the rescheduled Enugu East Senatorial Zone due to the death of one of the candidates in the earlier election on Feb. 22,” he explained.