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Mahmood Yakubu: It’s impossible to quantify cost implication of postponed election

IT is impossible to put a finger on a figure as to the cost implication of the postponement of the 2019 general election which was supposed to kick-off on Saturday, February 16, 2019, says the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu.

He said this while fielding questions from journalists during Wednesday’s briefing on the preparations so far to ensure that the elections held on the rescheduled date.

“It is when the process is over then you can talk about the cost implication of the postponement,” Yakubu said. “But, just as we have admitted, there will be costs, not only to the electoral commission but even to the media, observers and others. Because not many people bargained for a longer period to observe the elections, but for the circumstances well beyond the control of the commission, for which we have explained and taken full responsibility.

“So, it’s after the election that we’ll know what the full cost implication is.

“I guess also it’s going to be difficult if I ask you the same question, ‘what will be the cost implication of the postponement on the deployment of reporters from your organisation’? Certainly, this will not be known now, until after the elections, but obviously, there will be costs.”

Yakubu, however, reiterated that INEC will try to make up for the postponement by ensuring that the elections held across the country on the rescheduled date and that the process would be as hitch-free as possible.

For instance, Yakubu informed the gathering that the commission has achieved 100 per cent reconfiguration of all the 180,000 smart card readers that will be used for the elections, one day ahead of the set date.

He also said that INEC has arrangements in place to assist persons with disabilities during the voting process, such as persons with albinism, the blind, and the deaf. Magnifying glasses have been procured for albinos wh may find it difficult reading the inscriptions on the ballot papers if sunlight is much, while braille jackets will be provided to blind voters who could interpret braille; they would slip their ballot papers in the jacket, then thumbprint, before bringing it out and putting it in the ballot papers. Those who cannot read braille will have to be assisted by someone of their choice.

For the deaf, special posters were produced and deployed for the purpose of voter education and enlightenment.

The physically challenged, the elderly, visibly pregnant women and lactating mothers will be given preference on the election day and will not be required to stand for too long in the queue.

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