The first round of elections in the 2019 electoral cycle is around the corner, on Saturday, 16th of February 2019, the Presidential and the National Assembly elections are expected to hold, and according to the electoral unpair, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), all is set for what promises to be a keenly contested poll.
However, that may not be the case following a disastrous event that took place in Plateau State over the weekend. At the time, a key storage area at the INEC office in the state was gutted by fire. It was reported that key electoral materials meant of the Presidential and the National Assembly polls were affected in the incident.
This is not the first time that INEC office has suffered from fire incident, however, this is particularly peculiar since it is so close to the general elections, it is thought that the electoral body may not be able to adequately meet up with the logistical demands of replacing the damaged materials ahead of the polls.
It has been argued that if the latest fire incident will constitute an impediment for INEC in the State, the election umpire are left with two choices, the first is that the body would likely postpone the general elections by a few days, a scenario many believed to be unlikely, or, it would postpone the elections in the state by a few days, one that seems more likely.
However, INEC seems not to be thinking in both directions, the electoral body insists that Plateau State will be ready for elections come next Saturday and the state will be ready for what is dubbed the mother of all elections.
The body further stated that it was confident that the card readers will not only function properly in Plateau State but also in every state of the Federation.
Speaking on the matter, Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, said the body has put in place all the necessary modalities that will ensure successful elections, insisting that the Card readers will function properly during the polls.
“The window of the smart card reader is wider and can read fingerprints better now.
“The batteries of the enhanced card readers can last longer now. The window of the smart card reader is wider and can read fingerprints better now.
“We have upgraded the smart card readers and the ones to be used for the election are smart card readers that can perform very well. So, we do not envisage the issue of malfunction. It will be reduced to the barest minimum.
“The issue of card readers unable to read peoples biometrics will be reduced to the barest minimum.”
“What we did was to make up for shortfalls. Additional cards readers that we wanted have already arrived in the country and have been distributed to all the states. So, we don’t have challenges regarding the quality of smart card readers that would be used for these elections,” Okoye said.
The body also confirmed that it is re-training an additional 850 Supervisory Presiding Officers in Lagos (SPO), Mr Muyiwa Yusuf, the Lagos State Training Officer of INEC, made this known to reporters over the weekend.
“We are trying to make sure all our supervisory presiding officers are on the same page because the earlier training was done in all the 20 local government offices of INEC in the state. We could see there are some contradictory statements here and there.
“We are trying to make sure all our supervisory presiding officers are on the same page because the earlier training was done in all the 20 local government offices of INEC in the state. We could see there are some contradictory statements here and there,” Yusuf said.
Also speaking on the training, INEC Public Relations Officer in Lagos (PRO) Mr Femi Akinbiyi said:
“You must put all this training into proper use and guide the Presiding Officers (POs) and Assistant Presiding Officers (APOs) well. The nation is depending on us to conduct credible and acceptable elections.
“You must be good ambassadors of the commission; treat voters with courtesy and respect. You must also uphold priority voting for the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers and people living with a disability.”
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