By: Joy Odor/Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission-INEC has disclosed that 180,000 Smart Card Readers (SCRs) to be deployed for the 2019 general elections have reached 98% reconfiguration and will be ready by Wednesday.
The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu made the disclosure while briefing newsmen on the achievement so far for the readiness of the elections at the International Conference Center, Abuja Tuesday.
He explained that the Smart Card Readers are configured to only open for use at 8am on Election Day and to automatically shut down by 10 pm to forestall any illegal use of the SCRs before the appointed time of elections.
The Chairman said all issues relating to the delivery of the materials have been identified and addressed, saying Ballot papers, result sheets and a host of non-sensitive materials are now in location across the 37 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“The movement of materials to LGAs for batching according to Wards and Polling Units shall take place on Wednesday 20″ and Thursday 21st February 2019.
“All Registration Area Centres (RACs) are to be activated by 9.00am on Friday 22‘” February 2019. Personnel and materials should be at the MC: by mid-day on Friday 22nd February 2019.
“Refresher training for ad hoc personnel should take place at the MC: on Friday 22nd February 2019. Personnel and materials must arrive at the Polling Units latest 7am on Saturday 23″ February 2019. Opening of polls nationwide will take place at 8am on Saturday 23rd February 2019.
“The sensitive materials for the elections have started arriving at various locations for onward movement to various Central Bank branches across the country.
“Indeed, some of these materials arriving through our airports have been erroneously construed by some people as materials for the elections holding this weekend.
“I want to reassure you all that all materials for the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections Saturday are already in the States ready for deployment to LGAs, Ward and Polling Units.
“We have learnt a lesson from the preparations for the elections holding this weekend. For this reason, we shall start the movement of materials for the next elections early to ensure that nothing disrupts our process” he said.
Professor Yakubu appealed to all stakeholders to be more dispassionate and circumspect in their comments not to overheat the polity, adding that the Commission will ensure free, fair and credible elections.
He also urged all Nigerians to participate fully in the elections, notwithstanding the disappointment caused by the rescheduling of dates.