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INEC’s composition won’t affect Kogi, Bayelsa polls—Official

Mrs Amina Zakari as acting chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Mrs Amina Zakari as acting chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says its current composition will not affect the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa gubernatorial elections.

Mr Nick Dazang, the commission’s Deputy Director, Publicity and Voter Education, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

NAN reports that the commission is currently led by an acting Chairman while some National Commissioners had retired.

Dazang, however, said that the commission has the experienced human resources and adequate funding needed for its normal tasks as well as the conduct of the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa.

He said the commission held meetings with its directors and RECs on plans to be implemented between now and the first quarter of 2016, including conduct of the elections in the two states.

“We also had pre-election meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners that are to conduct the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa.
“The idea is to find out the state of preparedness and determine what materials or support they need to conduct the elections.

“ On Thursday, the commission also held a meeting with RECs and Administrative Secretaries who are substantive directors of the commission and represented the states where RECs had served their terms.

“This trajectory shows you the work of the commission is taking place and is continued at pace,’’ Dazang said.

He said that even before the Prof. Attahiru Jega-led commission was inaugurated, there was only one acting chairman, Solomon Soyebi, with Philip Umadi, who ran the commission.

“They even procured most of the non-sensitive materials for the 2011general elections before Jega and the other national commissioners were inaugurated.

“ So, it is the same thing repeating itself now.

“ We now have an acting chairman and a national commissioner, who are steering the ship of the commission, and the activities of the commission are going on uninterrupted,’’ he said.

Dazang said what was more important was that in addition to the acting Chairman and national commissioner, INEC has RECs in about half of the states and administrative secretaries manning the states where there were no RECs.

“In the headquarters, we have directors manning the various departments and these are very experienced personnel.

“Some of them have been conducting elections since 1993. They have participated in no fewer than five elections.

“So there is nothing actually that can take place now that can overwhelm them given that kind of experience,’’ Dazang said.

The deputy director said that INEC had no financial challenge in conducting the elections in the two states.

He said this was because the commission had approved the budgets for the forthcoming elections before the current depletion of its national commissioners.

“The point we are now is that of implementation; not even about financing or preparing a budget.

“ We have done that and the commission had approved the two budgets. We are now implementing,’’ he said.

Ahead of the elections, he said the commission would hold a stakeholders forum on Friday and Aug. 27 in Lokoja and Yenegoa respectively.

Also speaking on security arrangement for the elections, Dazang said that the commission had been working with security agencies.

“We have always conducted elections even in more hazardous areas.

“Don’t forget that even recently, we conducted elections in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno where the insurgents were threatening that it would be impossible to conduct elections.

“The elections there were successful like in other areas that were adjudged to be peaceful.

“We will conduct elections in Kogi and Bayelsa with the support of the security agencies, ’’ he said.



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