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Stats: 17,229 members, 67,350 Topics, 15,133 Comments. Date: May 19 2019, 6:20 pm

Olanrewaju Bolaji
The Polytechnic, Ibadan
Mass Communication
Graduate, Nigeria.

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has declared that he would not bow to calls by his critics to resign.

He said that serving as the head of the nation’s electoral umpire is based on patriotism and insisted that he has never contemplated quitting his office.

“I see no reason why I should resign,” he said in a response to a question whether he is under pressure to leave his office.

Yakubu continued: “I see no reason to even contemplate resigning. We have a job to do for our country. My job is purely based on patriotism and love for the country.”

He also said that there is no foreign interference in Nigeria’s electoral process and reiterated that only people with Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) will be allowed to elect their leaders.

At his fourth press conference held at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja since the postponement of the first leg of the general elections last Saturday, Yakubu maintained foreigners were not undermining the electoral process in the country as being speculated, adding that INEC has concluded plans to extend visas for those who need it for election purposes.

He said many of the foreigners were only observers and monitors, stressing that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is granting re-entry visas to all observers who may wish to travel out of the country and return for the second part of the polls.

“In this regard, the Service has also requested me to convey its decision to waive the visa fee and treat all such requests expeditiously. The extension of stay or re-entry into the country will be treated gratis,” Yakubu said.

While assuring Nigerians that the commission won’t postpone the elections again, Yakubu said that INEC does not envisage another cancellation of the polls.

He said that the commission’s decision on Zamfara State remains unchanged and reaffirmed that INEC had obeyed the Supreme Court judgment on Rivers State governorship election.

On the deployment of sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials, Yakubu that said all the states will complete the exercise today, adding that INEC is working with security agencies to tame threats and security breaches.

He said: “It is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that delivered these materials to various states. No sabotage in the process and I have explained that since on Saturday. Look at the activities happening in the states. The level of movement and engagement of staff show that we are on course,” Yakubu said, even as he acknowledged the burning of INEC’s vehicles in Akwa Ibom State.

The INEC chairman denied allegations that there were plans to redeploy the resident electoral commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, noting that all the RECs are in their various states of assignment.

He said: “We spoke this afternoon, he is still the REC and that is the position.”

Yakubu said it will be difficult to clone the commission’s sensitive materials, adding that there will be a stamp on the ballot paper on election day.

“I can’t speak further on the security features of our sensitive materials because they are fortified. Once the security agencies notify the commission of any breaches, we will check because no sensitive materials are in the wrong hands. Our materials are safe,” Yakubu added.

The INEC chairman who said they are on standby in case there is shortage of materials in some places denied allegations that there are shortage of ad-hoc staff in 13 states.

“We have a system of carefully getting the number we want as ad-hoc staff. There is no shortage,” he said.

“Yesterday (Wednesday), I reported that a number of states had commenced deployment to the local government areas (LGAs). I also assured the nation that going by our revised timetable and schedule of activities, these deployments will be concluded today.

“We are fully on course. There is no state that has not commenced the deployment to LGAs. In fact, 19 states have fully deployed. By the end of the day, all the states and the FCT would have deployed except Bayelsa State which is moving direct from our state office in Yenagoa to the RACs tomorrow (today),” Yakubu said.

He explained that activities at ward level will commence today with the activation of the Registration Area Centres (RACs) at 9.00am while the movement of personnel and materials will commence at mid-day.

This is the last post before deployment to 119,973 polling units leading to the opening of polls at 8.00am on Saturday.

On the ad-hoc staff engaged for the general elections, Yakubu said that the commission was not happy seeing pictures of the corps members serving as presiding officers at polling units sleeping at the RAC centres.

“We have been in discussion with the director- general of the NYSC on how this situation can be ameliorated. We have made an arrangement with the NYSC to move the mattresses used in their orientation camps nationwide, except Borno State where corps members are not deployed, to ease their hardship. As usual, the commission will provide electricity generating sets and supply water and toiletries in the RACs. We have also liaised with the security agencies for adequate protection,” Yakubu added.

Source: www.talkthematter.com.ng/2019/02/i-wont-resign-inec-chairman-tells.html

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