Elections: INEC In Sensitive Material Mix-up Controversy

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APC-PDP-APGAThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been accused by political parties of mixing up materials for Saturday’s presidential election.

In Nasarawa State, participating political parties in election have raised alarm over what they called a “mix-up” in the distribution of the sensitive materials for the 2015 presidential and National assembly elections holding March 28.

Already the mix-up has thrown the Nasarawa State office of INEC into confusion as staff were seen sorting some of the materials in a distribution van in the premises.

Premium Times reports that the distribution, which was done in the premises of INEC against traditional practice of distribution in the Central Bank, commenced on Thursday around 12 p.m. and ended 10 p.m.

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The distribution was done in the presence of political parties and journalists and was adjudged satisfactory until political parties begin to raise alarm over an alleged mix-up in the distribution.

The Peoples Democratic Party was the first to draw the attention of the electoral body saying the card readers for Awe local government area was found among those of Akwanga local government area.

Already the issue has created tension as political parties are alleging sabotage by the electoral body.

The legal adviser of the Nasarawa State PDP, Hassan Yakubu, accused the electoral commission of causing the mix-up and sending sensitive materials to local governments other than those they have been designated to.

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“We got report from our representatives in virtually all the 13 local government areas that the materials supplied to them belonged to other local governments,” said Mr. Yakubi.

He expressed worry that the anomaly, if not promptly attended to, would hamper the timing of Saturday’s exercise and possibly the credibility of the outcome.

The state secretary of All Progressive Grand Alliance, Kuje Hosea, who expressed similar concern queried INEC’s decision to release the exact number of ballot papers as the Permanent Voters’ Cards collected by voters in each of the polling units in the state.

He described the move as suspicious saying the electoral umpire should not hold back excess ballot papers.

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In his reaction, the Director, Voter Education and Head of Public Affairs, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said he was yet to see a sample of the ballot papers and could not say whether they were customized  for particular units or not.

Abdullahi said although hitches and other eventualities were expected, there was no way of knowing if the card readers had been sent to the wrong units until the day of elections when they become operational.

He added that only the results sheets are customized and could not say whether the ballot papers are also customized.

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