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No reason whatsoever to consider resignation, INEC Chairman insists

NATIONAL Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, says there is no reason whatsoever for him to consider resigning his position.

He said this on Thursday during the commission’s daily press briefing in preparation for the rescheduled 2019 general elections.

Yakubu insists that he is not under any pressure from anybody or group to step down from his position and that he remains the chief commissioner of the electoral commission and the returning officer for the presidential election.

“My status hasn’t changed and I am proceeding on the basis of these powers I draw from the constitution for the position that I am privileged to serve in the 2019 general elections,” he said.

“I see no reason to even contemplate resigning. There is no reason whatsoever, to even contemplate resigning. We’ll stay focused as a commission, we’ll do the job that is there for us to do for our country.”

Yakubu also reiterated that the election will not be postponed again, either across the country or in some of the states of the federation. He cited an online report which claimed that INEC was considering shifting the elections in three states in Northern Nigeria, and clarified that report was false as the commission has achieved 100 per cent deployment of electoral materials in one of the three states mentioned in the report, while deployment is also ongoing in the other two.

On the recurring incidences of voting materials being sent to the wrong states, Yakubu explained that given the sheer volume of materials that are being moved from one location to another, such minor mix-ups are not unusual. And given that reports of these mix-ups are few and far between, Yakubu described they were “statistically insignificant”.

“Once any parcel belonging to any state is discovered elsewhere, it is handed over back to the Central Bank, and it is the Central Bank that delivers this parcel to the relevant states,” he explained, adding that the commission printed a total of 421.7 million ballot papers and 13.6 million leaves of result sheets for the elections, hence the possibility of minor mix-ups in distribution.

When asked what the role of the military would be in the coming elections, Yakubu pointed out that “the lead agency in election security is the Nigerian Police”.

“It is the Nigerian Police, depending on the issues involved, that would request for assistance from other security agencies, including the military,” he said.

“The standard operating procedure is that the military will not be involved in the polling units, they will not be involved in the immediate inner cordon. But depending on the invitation they receive from the police, they may play the kind of role assigned to them by the lead agency in election security; that is the Nigerian Police.”

Yakubu also stressed that the ruling All Progressives Congress would not be on the ballot papers in Rivers and Zamfara States for the governorship, national and state assembly elections in accordance with the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“The parties in question, by court order, and by our understanding and interpretations of the judgements of two courts of coordinate jurisdiction delivered same day, in the case of Zamfara, cannot field candidates in the 2019 general elections. And the position of the commission has not changed,” he explained.

The INEC boss also noted that the report that voting begins at 8 in the morning and stops at 2 in the afternoon is false.

“The voting period in Nigeria is not strictly 8 to 2,” he explained. “Commencement is at 8 am, but remember, you allow citizens to vote for as long as they are on the queue before 2 pm.

“So that if you have accredited voters or voters queuing up to vote on the queue, after 2 pm you don’t send them home. They are allowed to vote no matter how long it takes.

“That is why there is an extension up to 10 pm, after 10 pm, the smart card readers will automatically shut itself down.

“So it’s not true that voting ends at two. Voting ends when the last person on the queue has voted, even if it means voting beyond 2 pm. But there is no polling unit, even if we have 100 per cent turnout, that we envisage voting will go on from 8 (am) to 10 (pm).

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