Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Ahead of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced the re-configuration of 5,823 Smart Card Readers (SCR) in Delta State.
Also being re-configured is five percent of the 5,823 SCRs as a back up to input the new date on the elections from Sunday, February 17, 2019.
The re-configuration of the SCRs became necessary following the postponement of the elections from February 16 to February 23 by the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, citing logistics and operational challenges.
In a statement, the Head of Department for Voter Education and Publicity of INEC in Delta State, Mr. Bukola Ojeme, apologised to Nigerians and all eligible voters for the inconveniences the postponement of the elections caused them, explaining that the configuration was in compliance with the timeline of activities for new dates of the polls.
Ojeme said all sensitive electoral materials that were earlier deployed for the botch elections on February 16 in Delta State had been quarantined at the Asaba office of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for safe keeping.
He said internal and external security agencies had been reinforced to take full control of security and restraining access to the sensitive materials.
Ojeme stated that the decision to keep the materials in CBN was reached by stakeholders who met with the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Cyril Omorogbe, prior to the postponement on Saturday from where both political parties and security agencies agreed on the modalities for safekeeping of the sensitive materials.
According to him, INEC “has also commenced the implementation of other ancillary tasks indicated in the timeline of activities to ensure a seamless deployment of men and materials to the field on the new dates.”
He thanked the political parties and security agencies under the auspices of Inter-agencies Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) for their understanding and support for the nation’s general elections.
“The commission apologies to voters for the inconveniences, and urged them to come out en-masse to freely express their choices through the ballot on the new dates of the polls.
“The commission assures all stakeholders of its commitment to transparency, neutrality, and impartiality in the discharge of its mandate,” the statement added.