Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, Wednesday, assured the nation that elections will hold as rescheduled on March 28 and April 11.
Speaking in Abuja at an interactive session with the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of over 60 civil society organisations, Jega said that the commission was fully prepared for the elections.
“I want to say that I’ve not seen any indication from anywhere that there is a desire for another postponement of this election. So, we are all focused on March 28 and April 11,” he said.
He disclosed that 11 states had, so far, achieved more than 90 percent permanent voter card (PVC) collection, while others had also been impressive.
The commission, according to him, had used the six weeks extension of the polls judiciously and “are now adequately ready for the elections….”
However, he warned that if card readers were stolen at any polling unit, the results from that unit would be null and void. “If people snatch card readers, it is sufficient grounds to cancel elections in those places.”
He therefore urged politicians to properly conduct themselves on the election days. he noted that they have no business moving around during elections.
On the effectiveness of card readers, Jega expressed optimism that there will be no serious challenge. He revealed that in the mock elections conducted across selected 12 states of the federation, only in Ebonyi state was card reader failure recorded. Even this, he noted, had since been brought under control.
The INEC boss also hinted that elections may hold at the towns recently liberated from Boko Haram. “We have received assurances from the security agencies that they are doing everything possible to provide security.
“We are pleased with the reports that there has been remarkable improvement of security in the areas of insurgency and we understand that there are only three local governments in Borno State that have not been totally cleared of the insurgency.
“We also know that the insurgents are very desperate and a lot of bombings and using incendiary devices have been happening, though in isolated places. We are working closely with security agencies to ensure that measures are in place to check this and ensure that they do not disrupt the electoral process.”
Jega said plans were in place to ensure internally displaced persons vote at the polls. “We have plans to arrange voting for IDPs; the plans are still on the ground. We have said that in areas where people have moved back and it is confirmed that it is safe, then it is better for us to go back to the polling units there and organise the elections.”
“We have tasked our Resident Electoral Commissioners to make that assessment. But we know that in many cases, IDPs are not going back. So, if there are people in IDP camps and they are not going back, we will do the elections as we have planned in the designated places for the IDPs,” the INEC boss said.