By Bayo Adegbite | Politics Reporter on February 15, 20190
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, at 9pm on Friday, February 15, 2019 was in an emergency meeting with security officials, election observers and other stakeholders.
According to an inside source, the main agenda of the meeting is the presidential election of Saturday.
The meeting is taking place amid some challenges that could affect the exercise. Materials needed for the elections have not been distributed in some states.
Already, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused INEC of conniving with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to postpone the polls.
But an INEC source attributed the inability to get materials across to some states to challenges with logistics, insisting that it is not deliberate.
“Those saying this is a deliberate act are being economical with the truth. Those states that are yet to receive voting materials from the Central Bank of Nigeria is as a result of one challenge or the other,” the source said.
“In some places, planes conveying the materials could not land because of bad weather… so it’s far from the truth that this is deliberate.”
But Osa Nehikhare, secretary of the PDP in Edo state, maintained that the commission is acting out the script of the federal government.
“It’s 7.00pm on the eve of the presidential and national assembly elections and materials for Edo are not available. This sabotage was orchestrated and a danger to our democracy,” he said in a statement.
“They want stand-alone elections so they can deploy their agents of intimidation and harassment.”
Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti state, also accused the commission of deliberately hoarding materials for the elections in some states to frustrate the PDP.
Fayose said he was aware that ballot papers and result sheets for presidential and senatorial elections were not in Ekiti as of 9pm, adding that only materials for house of representatives were distributed.
Speaking through Lere Olayinka, his media aide, Fayose said similar situations have already been reported in Oyo, Taraba, Edo, Niger, Ogun and Rivers.
TheCable understands that there is also problem of insufficient materials in Akwa Ibom and in Eti-Osa local government area of Lagos state.
In Niger state, Sam Egwu, the resident electoral commissioner (REC), said elections might not hold in Niger east and Niger north senatorial districts because the ballot papers meant for the zones were missing.
“The issue has been reported to the INEC’s Headquarters in Abuja for urgent attention. The officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria saddled with the responsibility of securing the electoral sensitive materials have gone to Abuja for the last batch of the sensitive materials for Saturday’s elections in the state, so we are waiting,’’ he said at a press conference.
In 2011, the national assembly elections were postponed because of insufficient materials shortly after voting had commenced nationwide.
Four years later, elections were moved by six weeks to allow the military tackle the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, although many thought it was because the incumbent government was afraid of losing