By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has deployed 90% of materials needed for this weekend’s election, high level sources in the commission told Vanguard yesterday.
Logistical challenges besides the reconfiguration of the card readers and alleged sabotage were last weekend blamed for the inability of the commission to conduct the election by Monday.
It had been reported that several materials including sensitive and non-sensitive materials were either not deployed or wrongly deployed leading to the failure of the commission to conduct the election last Saturday as promised.
The commission within the short period following the approval of its budget late last year had to print more than 500 million ballot papers and result sheets to be used for the series of elections this February and March.
The commission had the option of flying them to its five hubs spread across the country. However, as the chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu explained last weekend, inclement weather became a challenge.
“Unfortunately, in the last one week, flights within the country have been adversely affected by bad weather. For instance, three days ago, we were unable to deliver materials to some locations due to bad weather. We therefore had to rely on slow-moving long haulage vehicles to locations that can be serviced by air in spite of the fact that we created five zonal airport hubs Abuja (North Central), Port Harcourt (South South and South East), Kano (North West), Maiduguri and Yale (North East) and Lagos (South West) to facilitate the delivery of electoral logistics”.
However, that claim has been challenged by the minister of aviation Haid Sariki and some commentators who observed that weather did not stop President Muhammadu Buhari from flying to vote. It also did not cripple flights by commercial airlines.
So, how has INEC been able to tackle this particular challenge, bearing in mind that Monday, February 18 2019 was the date INEC set for itself for the “completion, confirmation of deployment of electoral materials”?
Both the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi and INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzi did not immediately respond to media inquiries.
A top official of the commission however said there had been over 90 percent success rate of deployment as at 4pm on Monday.