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2023: INEC backtracks, may resume storage of elections materials with CBN

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
18 July 2022   |   3:26 pm
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) might be left with no option but to resume the storage of sensitive election materials with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, who gave the hint during a television programme on Monday, said…

[FILES] Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) taking materials to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the Edo State gubernatorial election in Benin City… yesterday PHOTO: NAN

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) might be left with no option but to resume the storage of sensitive election materials with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, who gave the hint during a television programme on Monday, said the commission would resume engagement with the CBN to try and resolve issues concerning the storage of election materials

INEC had in June declared that sensitive election materials would no longer be routed through the apex bank.

The development came following the controversy surrounding the interest of the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, to contest the 2023 presidential election under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The commission made true its promise as sensitive materials used during the recently conducted Ekiti and Osun governorship polls were not stored in the CBN but at INEC’s office in the states.

But Okoye warned that INEC was in for a logistics nightmare if it doesn’t have a form of parley with the CBN over its election materials storage issues before the 2023 poll.

“It’s going to be a huge logistics nightmare. What we intend to do going forward since there are issues with keeping our materials with CBN,” he said.

“We have not had enough opportunity to sit down with the Central Bank to review the entire issue surrounding our moving our material with the Nigerian Air force.”

“We are definitely going to do that. If at the end of the day, we are not satisfied with the arrangement then we are going to look for a new logistics pathway for how to manage logistics during the 2023 elections. But no decision has been made.

Okoye insisted that the recently concluded elections in Ekiti and Osun governorship storage measures will not be tenable going into the general elections in 2023.

“You cannot use the Ekiti governorship election and Osun governorship election as a measure of what will happen in 2023,” he said.

“This is because for instance, in the Ekiti governorship election, we had less than a million registered voters. In the Osun governorship election, we were shy of two million registered voters.

“These are stand-alone elections. For the Ekiti election, we utilised the service of the Nigerian Air force and they flew the materials into Akure airport. We did the same thing with the Osun election, and we moved the materials to our state offices.

“But for the 2023 general election, we are going to have over 95 million ballot papers printed for the presidential election. Over 95 million will be printed for the senatorial election; over 95 million papers will be printed for the house of representatives election. Then it goes down.”