With a whopping N189 billion in its kitty, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has failed in handling the logistics for Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections, Next Edition can authoritatively report today.
The budget approved by the National Assembly for the forthcoming election is by far the largest ever given to the commission.
But at the time of filing this report, the top hierarchy of the commission is said to be locked in a crucial meeting which would take a decision on whether the presidential and national assembly elections would be held as planned.
As at Friday evening, sensitive election materials were yet to be delivered to many parts of the country including Michika, Madagali Local Government Areas of Adamawa State.
There are also complains from Niger State which is less than 100 kilometres from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The same situation is being reported in Ekiti while in Kano, Kogi and Lagos states, several sacks of already thump-printed ballots in favour of a particular political party have been intercepted and arrests made.
Fear of a possible postponement of the election started on Tuesday when a secret letter purported to have been written to the INEC by the Justice Minister and Attorney General for the Federation, Abubakar Malami surfaced on social media.
In the letter, the minister was alleged to have advised the commission to shift the polls in Zamfara State.
But the alleged action sparked outrage across the county, a situation which resulted in the minister issuing a statement to deny ever writing to INEC to postpone the election in the troubled state.
Even after the denial, many Nigerians were not satisfied and there was still apprehension of a possible cancellation of the polls.
The anxiety was, however, rested after President Muhammadu Buhari, made a nation-wide broadcast to assure Nigerians the elections would hold under a free and fair atmosphere.
The Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, has time and time again, assured Nigerians and the international community that the election would hold.
In one of his conversations reported widely in the media, Mr. Yakubu said INEC has collected every kobo that was approved by the National Assembly for the conduct of the elections.
Again, during the 2018 edition of the annual LEADERSHIP Conference and Awards held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on February 8, the INEC boss had said, “We are set for the elections and all logistics have been put in place to ensure hitch-free conduct of the polls.”
Mr. Yakubu said no matter how dubious or malicious a person or organisation may be, there was no way the electoral process could be manipulated.
He insisted that with the stringent measures put in place from the polling units to the collation centres, Nigerians and the international community should expect nothing less than credible and acceptable elections from the commission.
The INEC boss was represented by the national commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye.