•Jega insists Commission ready
A day to the conduct of the rescheduled National Assembly poll, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, yesterday announced that senatorial elections will not take place in 15 senatorial districts nationwide.
Similarly, election into federal constituencies for the House of Representatives will also not take place in 26 states; and Jega said rescheduled elections in the senatorial districts and federal constituencies will take place on April 26, same day as the gubernatorial and state assembly polls.
The 15 senatorial districts are Bayelsa central; Benue North; Cross River South and Central districts; Delta; Ebonyi north; Ekiti central, north and south; Kaduna north; Niger south; Plateau north, central and south, and Sokoto north.
The states in which federal constituency elections will not hold are Abia; Akwa Ibom; Anambra; Bayelsa; Benue; Cross River; Delta; Ebonyi; Edo; Ekiti; Gombe; Imo; Jigawa; Kaduna; Kano; Kwara; Lagos; Nasarawa; Niger; Ogun; Oyo; Plateau; Rivers; Sokoto and Zamfara.
Jega said: “I should say that the postponed elections affect only about 14 percent of all senatorial districts and 13 percent of federal constituencies. This means that elections will take place this Saturday in 86 percent of senatorial districts and federal constituencies respectively.
“For purposes of clarity, it is not everywhere that voting took place last week that is affected by this rescheduling. In some areas, only very few ballots were used, which means that elections can go unhindered in those places this Saturday”.
Jega, speaking on the readiness for Saturday’s poll, said: “Since the postponement, the Commission has worked tirelessly to address the challenges observed in the conduct of the rescheduled elections. Thus, result sheets have not only been delivered to the country, but have been received by states and local government areas nationwide. Similarly, other election materials needed in the states and local governments have been supplied.
Logistics challenges have been addressed and we have had further consultations with political parties, security services and other stakeholders to address other challenges that emerged last Saturday. Consequently, all is now set for the National Assembly elections to hold across the country on Saturday”.
Jega, while explaining why elections were postponed in the senatorial districts, said: “”In some areas, a good quantity of ballot papers had been used and it is not possible to reprint enough replacement ballot papers before the elections.
“Also, in a few constituencies, party names and logos were missing on ballot papers. While some of these resulted from human error in compiling the names of qualified candidates and parties for the elections, others are related to sudden changes emanating from several judicial pronouncements on party nominations”.
Jega disclosed that additional 600 vehicles had been purchased to facilitate the movement of officials and materials and assured that in subsequent elections, the Commission would ensure adequate vehicles are made available to match the 774 local government councils in the country.