INEC postpones NASS election again
THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again rescheduled the National Assembly election, this time, in 15 senatorial districts and 48 federal constituencies in 26 states of the federation till April 26 this year.
The INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, who disclosed this at a world press conference in Abuja on Thursday, said that the action became necessary in order to address the issue of the missing logos of certain political parties in the ballot papers discovered during last Saturday’s botched National Assembly election and as well to enable the commission to reprint additional ballot papers, a significant quantity of which were used last Saturday in spite of the suspension of the election.
The affected senatorial districts are Bayelsa Central (Bayelsa State); Benue North (Benue); South district, Central district (Cross-River); Ebonyi North (Ebonyi); Ekiti Central, Ekiti North and Ekiti South (Ekiti); Gombe North (Gombe); Kaduna North (Kaduna); Niger North (Niger); Plateau North, Plateau Central and Plateau South (Plateau) and Sokoto North (Sokoto).
The federal constituencies affected are Isiala Ngwa North/South (Abia); Ukanafu/Orun (Akwa Ibom); Ado Ekiti/Irepodun/Ifelodun, Ido-Osi/Moba/Ilejemeje, Ijero/Ekiti West/Efon, Ikole/Oye (Ekiti); Ifako/Ijaye, Somolu, Ikorodu (Lagos); Abeokuta North/ Obafemi Owode 1/Odeda, Egbado South/Ipokia, Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside and Ikenne/Sagamu/Remo North (Ogun); Ibadan North West/South West (Oyo); Keffi/Kokona/Karu (Nasarawa), Bifa/Gbako/Katha and Lavun/Edasi/Mokwa (Niger), Ekiti/Oke Ero/Isin/Irepodun (Kwara); Dala, Gwarzo/Kabo and Karaye/Rogo (Kano), Zagokataf/Soba (Kaduna).
The rest are Jos North/Bassa and Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam (Plateau); Port Harcourt 2 (Rivers); Anka/T. Mafara and Zurmi/Shinkafi (Zamfara); Yamaltu/Debe, Kaltungo/Shongom and Dukku/Nafada (Gombe); Tuara/Ringim (Jigawa) and Abi/ Yakurr (Cross Rivers).
Professor Jega pointed out that in some affected areas, a good quantity of ballot papers had been used and that it was not possible to reprint enough replacement before the elections while in a few constituencies, party names and logos were missing in the ballot papers.
While restating the readiness of the commission to go ahead with the elections tomorrow, Professor Jega pleaded with all voters to be orderly and peaceful during the polls, while those who have nothing to do with the electoral process should steer clear of the polling booths and collation centres in their own interest.
Professor Jega, who lamented the attitude of some state governors who moved around with their security orderlies during last Saturday’s botched election despite earlier announcement that such movement would not be allowed during elections, advised them not to repeat such lawless action during the coming election, saying, “security agencies will strictly enforce compliance with the directive.”
He equally advised political leaders to educate their followers on the need to eschew violence during the polls, saying that the commission had got additional security cover for the protection of life and property of the people during the polls and urged them to troop out en masse during the elections and vote for the candidates of their choice during the polls.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State has protested plan by the INEC to hold only the election into the House of Representatives in Ekiti South constituencies I and II tomorrow, saying that “If INEC does not have materials to conduct the National Assembly election throughout the state, it should postpone them to April 26.”
The state chairman of the party, Chief Bola Olu-Ojo, said the PDP did not believe that it was because of materials that INEC shifted the polls, adding that “even in the South senatorial district, where INEC wants to hold House of Representatives election, materials were used last Saturday.”
Chief Olu-Ojo said “our position is that there should not be staggered elections in Ekiti, because this will allow for deployment of state goverment machinery to the two federal constituencies on Saturday.
“Holding election in just two out of the six federal constituencies in the state would amount to a by-election and we all saw what the government in Ekiti did during the Moba Local Government by-election.
“Therefore, INEC should hold all the NASS elections in Ekiti the same day, else we will be forced to believe that INEC was carrying out the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) agenda.
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