…Achieves 100 percent Card Reader Reconfiguration
…Says, Supreme Court already sealed Rivers APC fate
By Omeiza Ajayi
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has said the conclusion of declaration of the 2019 Presidential Election results would not take longer than the 2015 elections in spite of the sheer number of presidential candidates, size of the result sheets and increased voter population.
This was as the commission said it has achieved a 100 percent reconfiguration of its 180, 000 smart card readers ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections on Saturday.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this Wednesday in Abuja while briefing journalists on the state of preparedness of the commission for the polls.
“At yesterday’s briefing, we reported that we achieved 95% configuration of the Smart Card Readers SCR nationwide. The Card Readers were introduced in the 2015 general elections to facilitate the accreditation of voters using the PVCs. They are configured to specific polling units and only open for use at 8am on Election Day. They automatically shut down by 10 pm in order to forestall any illegal use before the appointed time of elections. I am pleased to report that we have now achieved 100% completion of the configuration. We are good to go on this score.
“Similarly, I briefed you yesterday that our State offices had commenced the process of inviting stakeholders to the Central Bank of Nigeria to examine the retrieved materials deployed last week and to witness the batching of materials according to Local Government Areas (LGAs). Reports from the States indicate full compliance.
“I briefed you yesterday that having moved the sensitive materials to the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the forward deployment to the 774 LGAs nationwide will commence today Wednesday 20thFebruary 2019 and be concluded tomorrow Thursday 21stFebruary 2019. Already, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina, Osun, Ogun, Oyo and Taraba States have commenced the movement of materials to LGAs today. Other States will do so and conclude tomorrow. We will give a full rendition of movement to LGAs across all States of the Federation tomorrow.
“We have been making good progress on logistics. Similarly, all other arrangements for the movement of personnel from the LGAs to the Wards are on course. We will fully brief you tomorrow at 3pm”, he stated.
Declaration of Results
Yakubu said the commission was working to ensure that it does not keep Nigerians waiting for days without declaring the results, saying the time limit would not exceed what obtained in 2015.
In 2015, while the Presidential Election held on a Saturday, a winner was not declared until the following Wednesday.
“Even though this time around we have more presidential candidates than in 2015, we have more registered voters than we had in 2015, the size of the result sheet is bigger than we had in 2015, but we are committed to concluding the process for the Presidential elections roughly about the same time that we concluded the 2015 general elections. We will do whatever we can to ensure that we speedily conclude the process but we won’t sacrifice accuracy for speed”, he declared.
Fate of Rivers APC sealed
The INEC boss also stated that the fate of the All Progressives Congress APC in Rivers state was already sealed by the Supreme Court, adding that there has to be an end to litigation.
According to him, the commission would always respect court orders but not when the apex court of the land has taken a final decision on the same matter.
“I think the Supreme Court has made a number of pronouncements on that matter and for that reason, the commission has taken a position going by that judgment. Under our constitution, the Supreme Court is the last court of resort for anyone and there must be an end to litigation as lawyers say. When the Supreme Court makes a pronouncement, all persons and authorities in the Federal Republic of Nigeria are bound by the decision and so the commission as a law abiding institution will abide by the judgement. There is nowhere else to go. We go by the judgement. When the apex court has spoken, that is the end of the road for all litigations”, he stated.
On the PVC collection rate, the INEC Chairman said information in that regard would be available from Thursday.