The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the electoral umpire is still in discussions with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the storage of election materials for the 2023 general elections.
INEC’s commissioner for information and voter education, Festus Okoye, disclosed the development weeks after the commission’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said sensitive election materials would no longer be routed through CBN facilities.
Mr Yakubu had said the electoral body never had any issue with the CBN since the partnership started, but owing to “current circumstances”, an alternative would be found.
The chairman’s position was necessitated following the involvement of Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, in the race for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in May.
However, Mr Okoye while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Monday monitored by TheCable, said logistics measures taken in Ekiti and Osun governorship elections will not be sustainable for the general election.
He said the commission employed the services of the Nigerian Air force for the logistics of the electoral materials, adding that because of the huge amount of the ballot papers and other sensitive materials, the commission will have a “sit-down” with the CBN to draw out plans for the 2023 elections.
“You cannot use the Ekiti governorship election and Osun governorship election as a measure of what will happen in 2023,” he said.
“This is because for instance, in the Ekiti governorship election, we had less than a million registered voters. In the Osun governorship election, we were shy of two million registered voters.
“These are stand-alone elections. For the Ekiti election, we utilised the service of the Nigerian Air force and they flew the materials into Akure airport. We did the same thing with the Osun election, and we moved the materials to our state offices.
“But for the 2023 general election, we are going to have over 95 million ballot papers printed for the presidential election. Over 95 million will be printed for the senatorial election; over 95 million papers will be printed for the house of representatives election. Then it goes down.
“It’s going to be a huge logistics nightmare. What we intend to do going forward since there are issues with keeping our materials with CBN, we have not had enough opportunity to sit down with the Central Bank to review the entire issue surrounding our moving our material with the Nigerian Air force.
“We are definitely going to do that. If at the end of the day, we are not satisfied with the arrangement then we are going to look for a new logistics pathway for how to manage logistics during the 2023 elections. But no decision has been made.
“When you have to move materials to 36 states of the federation and the capital territory, it’s a completely different ball game.
“What we did in Ekiti and Osun in terms of the general election will not be sustainable. We need to look for a complete logistics pathway of how to deal with this particular problem.”
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