The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is insisting that Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) has no candidates for the forthcoming general elections. Just as it commenced the dispatch of both sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the elections to states in readiness for the polls.
The commission position on Rivers APC was stated by Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education and Publicity in Abuja at an interactive meeting with reporters.
However, he pointed out that if there is a change in situation of things, the commission would meet to review its stand.
“We have taken a decision relating to the issue of Rivers and if anything changes before we take our final decision, the commission will meet and also take a decision. But we have not taken any other decision and we have not repealed our position on the issue of Rivers, ”he said.
An Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt, presided over by Justice Ali Gumel, granted a stay on Justice Kolawole Omotoso’s judgment on the fielding of candidates by APC in Rivers State.
Thus, the party expected the commission to restore the names of its candidates removed as a result of the internal crisis within the party.
Okoye confirmed that INEC has begun the deployment of sensitive materials and non-sensitive materials to states ahead of the forthcoming general elections. The sensitive materials, which are the ballot papers, result sheets and the rest, were lodged in the Central Bank vaults in the states. The non-sensitive materials were being delivered to local government offices of the commission.
He stated that some local councils have already received delivery of non-sensitive materials such as mats, matrasses, generators, torch lights, and others, preparatory to next week’s presidential election.
“Based on that, we have asked the resident electoral commissioners to beef up security at the various local government offices because some of these offices have started receiving the non-sensitive materials for the conduct of the elections.
“Secondly, the Central Bank of Nigeria in the various states have started receiving sensitive materials for the conduct of these elections. These sensitive materials include ballot papers and result sheets. Elections are just some few days away and if we have not started receiving the sensitive materials into the vault of the Central Bank, that means we are not a serious commission.
“So, these materials are being delivered on daily basis to the various Central Bank branches in the various states of the federation. So, we are gradually getting ready for the conduct of the elections.”
Okoye, who also spoke on the burnt PVCs in Abia State said the commission would look at the possibility of printing a new ones for those affected.
“I think the Nigerian people ought to express some level of outrage at what happened in Abia State.
“As a commission, we thought that the era of burning the local government offices or offices of the commission had come to an end. We did not know that some will attempt to go an burn local government offices of the INEC.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) as I pointed out have been asked to beef up security at their various local government offices to prevent this type of thing from happening again.”
Okoye said the commission did not sign a memorandum of understanding for the lifting of personnel and materials on election days with the Road Transport Employers Association (RTEAN) because the transport union is in crisis.
“What INEC signed with the various transport unions is MOU. The RECs and the various electoral officers in the various states have also entered into a memorandum of understanding with the local unions and also with the transporters themselves, the owners of these vehicles,” he said.