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INEC reviews storage of materials with CBN as Ohanaeze warns ‘failed politicians’

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Ernest Nzor (Abuja), Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna) and Barakat Akolade (Lagos)
19 July 2022   |   4:09 am
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) might be left with no option but to resume storage of sensitive election materials with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

• U.S. Mission, TMG, Jibrin laud Osun governorship election
• ‘Why Adeleke’s victory may usher in PDP’s return to power’

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) might be left with no option but to resume storage of sensitive election materials with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, who gave the hint during a television programme, yesterday, said the commission would resume engagement with CBN to resolve storage issues.

INEC had in June declared sensitive materials would no longer be routed through the apex bank. The development followed controversy trailing the interest of CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to contest the 2023 presidential election under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

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

But Okoye warned that INEC could face “logistics nightmare” if it doesn’t have a form of parley with CBN over storage before the 2023 polls.

He explained: “You cannot use the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections as measure of what will happen in 2023. In Ekiti, we had less than a million registered voters. In Osun, we were shy of two million registered voters.

“These are stand-alone elections. For the 2023 general elections, 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!”

THIS came as Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) Worldwide, described the Osun State governorship election as a warning indicating “there will be no hiding place for failed politicians, no matter their acclaimed clout.”

Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had defeated Governor Gboyega Oyetola in the keenly contested election.

A statement by National President of OYC, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, said Adeleke’s victory was clear indication “it is no longer business as usual.”

It added: “This is no longer a time people hide under political parties to undermine the electorate; they will be served a bitter defeat in 2023.”

THE United States Mission to Nigeria congratulated the citizens of Osun State on the peaceful elections.

In a statement by Information Specialist of the U.S. Consulate General, Adejumobi Adegbite, the U.S. said: “We commend the concerted efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff and security personnel who helped facilitate a secure process that reflected the will of the people. 

“We encourage all Nigerian citizens to register to vote now so that your voice can be heard in the national and state elections in 2023.”

ALSO, the Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, said the victory is a sign the party will bounce back to power after the 2023 general elections.

Jibrin, who congratulated Adeleke over the victory, told journalists in Kaduna: “This is just the beginning of victory. What has happened in Osun is an indication of PDP’s stand in the entire country.

“We, as a party, have learned our lessons, and the Yoruba are beginning to learn their lessons too by coming out to elect Chief Adeleke. We are rest assured that other states in Western Nigeria will be won by the PDP in 2023.”

MEANWHILE, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) praised INEC in a ‘post election statement’ signed by its Chairman, Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani.

It commended the electoral body for complying with provisions of the Electoral Act, especially with regards to improving inclusivity by providing assistance technology for persons with disabilities, and for efficient election logistics arrangement, which witnessed early deployment of officials and materials.

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