Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi state, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday commenced the distribution of sensitive materials to Registration Area Centres (RACs) across the 21 local government areas of the state.
Our correspondents, who were at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) office in Lokoja, where the distribution is taking place, report that sensitive materials (ballot papers and result sheets) for about 16 local government areas have been despatched.
Non-sensitive materials for all the other local government areas have all been batched and awaiting to be conveyed to their respective destinations, they observed.
The distribution is being done amidst heavy security with agents of various political parties, accredited observers and some members of the press on ground.
Speaking to Daily Trust on the exercise, INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Kogi, Kwara and Nasarawa states, Mohammed Haruna said the distribution had been smooth without hitches.
“I’m sure you can see everything has been going smoothly. The observers are here and you the media are here. We have three national commissioners here including myself. We have seven resident electoral commissioners including the REC in charge of Kogi just to make sure everything go well and as you can see, vehicles have now started departing.
“All the non-sensitive materials have been batched and we are already sending them to the local government areas. These are the sensitive materials, that is the ballot papers and result sheets. We are happy with the progress made so far.
“God willing by 8am on Saturday, polls will open. The idea behind the distribution now is to ensure that the ad-hoc staff get to the polling units with the materials in time”, he said.
He said the simultaneous accreditation and voting methodology adopted in the last general election would also be used in the Saturday’s election.
He urged the political actors to play by the rules of the game and avoid all acts of violence before, during and after the election.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faulted the distribution process, saying INEC has not been quite open on the matter.
The party’s state agent, retired Captain Joe Agada, told Daily Trust that the processes have been “clumsy” and “unorganized”.
He said the commission was supposed to avail parties agents whenever materials for a particular local government is prepared to take off but such has not being the case.
“So far, we don’t know the number of local government areas which materials are released,” he pointed out, adding “there has to be openness in matters like this.”
Also speaking, an agent of Peoples Progressives Party (PPP), Jibrin Mohammed, said the distribution has been largely smooth with exception of little reservations he has about the process.