Ballot Papers, Boxes Already Deployed To All 36 States -INEC

POLITICS: The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Chairman Professor Attahiru Jega on Thursday in a meeting with all the leaders of political parties, disclosed that all sensitive and non-sensitive materials, especially ballot papers and boxes, had been deployed to all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Abuja.
After the opening remarks, where Jega said some parties were heating up the polity with their utterances and attitude, the party leaders retired into a session on the status of preparation for the elections.
The INEC chairman said: We are ready for the elections; all the materials (sensitive and non-sensitive) have been deployed. Some sensitive materials like ballot papers are being kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
We have been having meetings with security agencies on how to ensure the successful conduct of the poll. The security agencies are on top of their game.
Responding to a question, Jega said the military will not be involved in the elections; they will only be deployed in case of emergency.
Jega also presented samples of ballot boxes and what the ballot papers will look like to the leaders of the parties.
The ballot boxes and papers will be colour-coded, he added.
Asked to explain why the 700,000 staff for the elections had not been trained, Jega said: “We usually train them in the last week of the elections and it is from the training they go to the field.
So, traditionally, the commission waits till the week of the elections to train these staff”.
The Director of Electoral Operations, Mr. Kayode Oladimeji spoke about logistics and deployment for the elections.
The parties that raised objections alleged that the failure rate of the SCRs was higher during the last Saturday Mock Election in 12 states.
But Jega said: The commission believes that the Card Readers add a lot more value to the transparency and fairness of the electoral process. The SCR is not meant to confer electoral advantage on any party. We are going to use Card Readers; it is within the prerogative of the commission to ensure that the electoral process is free, fair and transparent. When we also did the cost benefit analysis, the SCR is far better.
The Director of ICT of INEC, Mr. Chidi Nwafor, faulted claims that the failure rate of SCRs last Saturday was high.
He said: All the four objectives behind the SCRs were 100 per cent successful.
Let us assume that the fourth objective was not achieved, we have made provision for physical identification of voters once the SCR authenticates his or her PVC.
Apparently overwhelmed by the detailed analysis of INEC, the representatives of the PDP said: PDP is not against Card Readers but all the errors or flaws noted last Saturday should be addressed.
A party source said: Those against Card Readers lost out at the session because Jega foreclosed any plan to jettison the device.
When APC raised issues on what INEC will do if voters mistakenly drop ballot papers in wrong boxes, the Deputy Director, Electoral Operations, Mr. Chima Duruakwu, said such votes will become invalid.
He said it was left for parties to educate their members and supporters on how to vote right.

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