RACs: INEC praises progress movement of election materials

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By Joy Odor

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed it’s satisfaction in the progress making with the movement of election materials to various Registration Area Centers (RACs) around the country.

The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu made this known on Friday at the second briefing on the preparations for the 2023 election at the International Conference Center (ICC) Abuja.

He Informed that having deployed the materials to the Local Government Areas, the Commission devolving the deployment to the Registration Area Centers (RACs) so that early morning Saturday, the polls will open as planned.

According to him, the RACs have been activated and election duty staff have started arriving in them.

Speaking on the death of the Labour Party candidate for Enugu East Senatorial District Oyibo Chukwu, Prof Yakubu confirmed of receiving a formal communication from the party, informing the Commission of his death.

According to him, the Labour Party has provided satisfactory evidence of the death and affirmed the suspension of the election in the senatorial district made up of six Local Government Areas, 77 Wards and 1,630 Polling Units as provided by Law.

INEC Chairman narrated that the election will now be combined with the Governorship and State Assembly elections holding in the next two weeks on 11th March 2023.

He expressed that the materials already delivered for the senatorial election will remain in the custody of the Central Bank in the State until the new date for election.

“The second issue is the unfortunate incident involving the candidate of the Labour Party in Enugu State. I can confirm that we have now received a formal communication from the party informing the Commission of the death of its candidate for Enugu East Senatorial District.

“The party also conveyed its intention to participate in the election for that constituency by replacing its deceased candidate. This request is in line with the provision of the law. For clarity, I wish to quote verbatim the provision of Section 34(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 as follows:

“If, after the time for the delivery of nomination paper and before the commencement of the poll, a nominated candidate dies, the Chief National Electoral Commissioner shall, being satisfied of the fact of the death, countermand the poll in which the deceased candidate was to participate and the Commission shall appoint some other convenient date for the election within 14 days.

“We have already communicated this decision to our Enugu State office. Therefore, there will be no senatorial election in Enugu East Senatorial District made up of six Local Government Areas, 77 Wards and 1,630 Polling Units.

“The election will now be combined with the Governorship and State Assembly elections holding in the next two weeks on 11th March 2023. Materials already delivered for the senatorial election will remain in the custody of the Central Bank in the State until the new date for election” He said.

Also commenting on lmo State issue, South East, Prof Yakubu disclosed that the Commission is aware of the situation where it was reported that some of the critical polling unit officials drawn from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have withdrawn their participation from some Local Government Areas as a result of the perennial insecurity.

“From the report we received from our State office, concerns have been expressed about the security situation in Osu Local Government Area, five Wards in Okigwe and six in Orlu. However, we have been assured that with enough mobilisation of security personnel to the area, it is possible for elections to hold in these locations. I have been in touch with the IGP who will brief us on their plans to secure these locations for elections to hold peacefully when he addresses us shortly.

“Generally speaking, the situation nationwide is calm as far as our preparations are concerned. There has been no incident involving the personnel or huge quantities of materials deployed by the Commission. Voter enthusiasm is high and so too is our determination to conduct credible elections” Prof Yakubu explained.

In his address, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba Alkali Force warned all perpetrators of violence to desist or face the full wrath of the law.

He vowed that the police would be policing the adversaries, those who want to stop the election from taking place, or those who are ready to sabotage the process.

The IGP informed that the Force have made arrangements for motorize patrol teams to be deployed to points near polling stations and coalition centers to look at the issue of making the place conducive for law abiding citizens to come out.

According to him, election tags have been issued to all the police officer or security officer that are going to participate in the electoral process to avoid vague policeman or vague NYSC or whatever.

Usman Baba Alkali said arrangements have been made by looking at issues of crime mapping the entire country thereby concentrating on areas that requires either minimum deployment or maximum or average based on the analysis or based on the threat analysis that has been done both by the service and that of other services, especially the DSS and also the civil society organizations that have given threat analysis of the country.

“These kinds of policing require motorize patrol teams. This kind of supervision requires use of minimum force to condition the area for those who are willing to come out and exercise their franchise. For that reason.

“We have also made arrangements for patrols to be deployed to points near polling stations and coalition centers to look at the issue of making the place conducive for law abiding citizens to come out.

“We have also made arrangements to make sure that coalition centers are protected. We collapse our policing of the polling units and polling stations as soon as after the election to come and mine the coalition centers that will be done and those who don’t have anything to do will not be allowed to be there.

“We have been able to issue election tags to all the personnel that are going to take place in this policing period. And therefore, every police officer or security officer that is going to take part will be accredited and the tag was also issued to avoid vague policeman or vague NYSC or whatever. We have also made arrangement by looking at issues of crime mapping the entire country thereby concentrating on areas that requires either minimum deployment or maximum or average based on the analysis or based on the threat analysis that has been done both by our service and that of other services, especially the DSS and also even the civil society organizations have given us threat analysis of the country and we are going to concentrate on policing these places.”

“We also believe that one of the important thing that we do on election day is restriction of movement. Restriction of movement will greatly assist us in controlling and in policing miscreants that may come out to obstruct the election. All those who are required to do their job, either as essential service providers or those who have business in the election process have all been advised to have their identity on them. And this will give them free movement” he said.

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