The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Oyo State, Barr. Mutiu Agboke, has allayed fears that election materials meant for the botched elections have been leaked.
Agboke, who spoke via the telephone during Political Circuit, a weekly Political programme on Fresh 105.9 FM in Ibadan, said that “I have not even opened any of the materials to see what is contained in them.”
He said all electoral materials especially the sensitive ones earlier deployed to about four out of the 33 Local Governments Areas of the state had been fully retrieved.
Agboke said all political parties were carried along in the exercise while expressing the commission’s readiness to tidy up the process before Saturday night.
He said there were logistics problems in the state “because ballot papers for a whole senatorial district, Oyo Central were not released ab initio.”
Asked what would happen to already deployed ballot papers and result sheets, Agboke replied, “As I speak to you, we have retrieved all the sensitive materials to the state office. We have tightened up the security.
“We have within our premises the full presence of various categories of the Nigeria Police Force; the people in the red cap, the people in the black cap, the regular police that you know.
“In fact, they have been reinforced with the presence of the Nigerian Army. They are all here, knowing full well that we have all these materials back to the state office. So, the materials are intact, nothing has happened to them and nothing will happen to them.”
OYO INSIGHT had reported how INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, announced the postponement of the presidential and national assembly elections earlier scheduled for today.
But according to Agboke, INEC will not give out any PVC again as “the period for the collection of PVC has closed, the period of campaign has closed. This period is for us to see the areas of inadequacies and try to resolve them. That’s all, somebody should not use that to their own selfish gain. There is no window for campaigns for political parties that are contesting for presidential and national assembly, there is still room for governorship and house of assembly.”
Told that the postponement was not the fault of the candidates, Agboke explained that “For the purpose of our time table, we have foreclosed the campaign for presidential and national assembly elections.”
He, however, said that “If there is need for me to adjust the posting list of our staff, I will adjust it.”
“This is not the first time INEC will postpone election or shift forward. We have conducted election before, where in the middle of the voting, the whole process was canceled, heaven did not fall. And this one, we have not even started voting at all. So, I think we should not be apprehensive about the thing. The important thing is that we have not allowed the whole thing to be messier than this. I want to assure you, the process will sustain its integrity. And we will ensure that people count on INEC to see that integrity.”
Asked why the commission hasn’t apologized to Nigerians, foreign and local observers including the media and other stakeholders, Agboke noted that “All of us are affected. We have to appeal to ourselves. It was reported that people in Oke-Ogun said even if they postpone the election again, they would still come out to vote. What we are saying is that we won’t allow it to happen the second time, all things being equal. Let us believe in the process, we will always get the best.