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INEC recalls, sensitive materials in Awka, Ekiti, as PDP accuses commission of planning to rig

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Anambra on Sunday said it has taken delivery of all the sensitive electoral materials earlier deployed for the Feb. 16 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Mr Leo Nkedife, INEC Head Voter Education and Publicity, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka that the action was necessitated to secure the materials.
The electoral commission had attributed poll shift to logistic and operational challenges.
The spokesman said that all ballot papers and result sheets have been recalled and deposited at the CBN Awka branch while the Smart Cards are returned to our office for safe keeping.
Nkedife said that the postponed election would now hold on Feb. 23 for the Presidential and National Assembly while March 9 is fixed for the Governorship and State House of Assembly.
NAN reports that the Presidential and National Assembly elections were earlier scheduled to hold on Feb. 16 was postponed in the early hours of the day of the election by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Yakubu said in a nationwide broadcast in the early hour of Saturday that the elections have been shifted by a week, attributing it to issues of logistics and operational challenges faced by the commission.
Postponement: PDP, APC trade words over withdrawal of sensitive materials in Ekiti Ekiti
February 17, 2019 5:06 pm by Ariwodola Idowu – Nigeria –
Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti, on Sunday accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), of alleged plan to rig the Presidential and National Assembly elections in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC).
The state PDP Chairman, Chief Gboyega Oguntuase, who addressed a news conference at Afao Ekiti, the country home of former Gov. Ayo Fayose, alleged that INEC was slow in withdrawing electoral materials earlier distributed for the polls before its postponement.
Oguntuase also accused the commission of having disparities in the electoral materials brought from its headquarters in Abuja.
The chairman who said materials for the conduct of the Presidential and Senatorial elections did not get to the state until the wee hours of Saturday, said sensitive materials, especially those for House of Representatives election were not complete.
“There were no result sheets for Ward (Form EC8B) and Local Government (EC8C) as well as result sheets for final collation (Form EC8D) and announcement of final results (Form EC8E).
“Also, there was excess Polling Units Result Sheets (EC8A). The excess were more than two times the number of polling units in Ekiti State.
“This is to say that each of the Polling Units in Ekiti State has more than one result sheet.
“As at the wee hours of Saturday; only electoral materials for the conduct of House of Representatives, Presidential and South Senatorial elections were brought to Ekiti, leaving those for Central and North Senatorial Districts.
“Immediately after the postponement, instruction was given to INEC offices at the Local Councils to withdraw all the materials already distributed and deposit same with the CBN, except the Card Readers which they said needed to be reconfigured.
“Why did it take INEC officials in some of the local governments until 7 p.m. to return the electoral materials to the CBN office in Ado Ekiti, when directive to return the materials was issued as early as 8 a.m. on Saturday?
“Consequently, we are demanding that we be allowed by INEC and CBN to double-check all the electoral materials, more particularly the sensitive materials,’’ he said.
The state party chairman also expressed concern over alleged indiscriminate arrest and harassment of members and supporters of the PDP by men of the State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“At about 1.00 a.m. on Saturday, over ten people, including lodgers were arrested at a hotel in Are-Ekiti, owned by the Director General of the Atiku/Obi Presidential Campaign Council in Ekiti State, Chief Dipo Anisulowo and were detained till evening.
“Also, nine of our party supporters, including the mother of our House of Representatives candidate in Ekiti South Constituency (1), Segun Adekola were arrested in Igbara-Odo while another supporter was arrested in Ilawe-Ekiti.’’
Refuting the allegations that APC members were behind the attacks on PDP supporters, the Director General, Buhari/Osinbajo campaign council in Ekiti, Dr Olusegun Osinkolu, said the party had no reason to resort to anti-democratic means to win elections.
“APC is on ground in Ekiti. We did not attack anyone when we won governorship election here as an opposition, Why should we now resort to such acts when we are the ruling party in the state and at the federal level?
“PDP is just looking for whom to blame for its impending woes. They should look inward and settle their differences, rather than pointing accusing fingers at a wrong direction,’’ he said.
When contacted, the INEC Public Relations Officer in Ekiti, Alhaji Taiwo Gbadegesin, however dismissed the PDP allegations, saying all sensitive materials distributed in the state had been withdrawn and kept at the CBN office in Ado Ekiti.
Gbadegesin said the commission dispatched its vehicles and security men on Saturday to retrieve ballot papers and result sheets across the state.
“These allegations are not correct. All the materials distributed on Friday have been withdrawn.
“As we speak, they are in CBN for safe keeping while our smart card readers are here in our office, because they have to be reconfigured,’’ he said.

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