By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kogi has declared that it is 90 per cent ready for the Saturday Governorship Election in the state.
Mr Haliru Haruna Sule, Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity (VEP) at the INEC State Headquarters in Kogi State, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen on Monday in Lokoja.
According to Sule non-sensitive materials had been distributed to Local Governments and polling units across the state while sensitive materials are being awaited.
“As far as the Kogi Governorship election is concerned, INEC is 90 per cent prepared. Why I said 90 per cent is because we have batched all our non-sensitive materials and have conveyed them down to Local Governments.
“Local governments in turn have batched them into polling units. And why it is 90 per cent is also because we are waiting for sensitive materials. Even though I would have told you it is 100 per cent”, he said.
The HOD VEP said that Sensitive materials such as ballot papers and result sheets were still at the headquarters, waiting to be transported to Kogi State branch of the Central Bank.
“We are waiting for them to convey them down to the Central Bank. When they convey them, we will go to the Central Bank and inspect to make sure they are accurate and in the correct number.
“When we confirm that, then we invite all the political party agents and the security to go to the CBN, where we batch them into Local Governments with the EOs. From the CBN, they will convey them straight to their Local Government Areas.
“And while you were coming in, you might have seen our Hilux vans conveying our Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, (BIVAS), to local governments in readiness for the election. So as I said, we are 90 per cent prepared”, he said.
INEC also confirmed deployment of more than 900 BIVAS as backup in case of possible malfunction.
On security, the VEP said, “You could see as you were coming in, that we had just finished an Interagency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICES) meeting.
“Because of the violence that is happening in some of the areas and parts of the state, security is being stepped up. Yes, there are flashpoints which the security has identified. But they told us they are on top of the situation.
“They have always given us the assurances. And on the part of the commission, there is nothing we can do. We only rely on them, because we are not in control of the security. So we always rely on the assurances from the security”, he said.
Sule added that measures have been taken to prevent a repeat of staff being kidnapped, including deploying staff from local areas and considering the use of helicopters for transportation.
On challenges in transportation of materials and staff especially to difficult terrains the VEP said the issue had been addressed through adoption of new strategies with additional funding and use of local staff.