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AFTERMATH OF BOTCHED APRIL 2 POLLS…

By NBF News
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Jega
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said contractors whose failure to fulfill contractual obligations to the electoral body resulted in postponement of last Saturday's National Assembly elections would be made to pay for their lapses.

Chief Press Secretary to the commission, Kayode Robert Idowu, confirmed to Daily Sun that since the contractual terms had been breached, 'the contractors have to pay for the lapse. We just don't want to do media trial. But I can assure you that penalties will be applied. Sanction will be enforced.'

The disclosure came as the board of the INEC yesterday went into a marathon meeting to strategise on next Saturday's rescheduled National Assembly election, just as the commission again promised that all was set for the polls.

Details of the discussions at the meeting also showed that the commission would formally report the contractor, who failed to deliver electoral materials on schedule to the appropriate security agents for sanctions for breach of contract in line with the contractual terms and agreement.

The INEC boss, it was gathered had told the meeting that it did not intend to pass the buck on what went wrong but to strategise on how to make a success of the rescheduled elections and the need for all to co-operate to compensate Nigerians on the embarrassment caused them with last Saturday's failed election.

He explained that members of the public deserved to know the defaulters and that their identities would be disclosed at the appropriate time.

The meeting of the board comprising of all the Secretaries of the commission, national commissioners with the INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, adjourned intermittently as it became stormy, following disagreements over how to ensure that the election was not bungled again.

At a point, sources close to the meeting, disclosed that Jega had to beg the commissioners to handle well tasks assigned to them to ensure the commission did not fumble again on Saturday.

The commission Chairman had on Sunday after its failed attempt last Saturday, announced the rescheduling of the three-legged general elections to start from Saturday April 9 with the National Assembly, presidential election on April 16 and the governorship and state assemblies elections for April 26.

Also, an emergency meeting has been fixed with the 37 Residents Electoral Commissioners (REC) at the commission's headquarters today (Tuesday) for briefing on the level of preparations for the rescheduled polls and what roles were expected of them, the commission confirmed yesterday.

Interestingly, the commission said it did all that was humanly possible to hold the election last Saturday but the hitch occasioned by late arrival of crucial materials was an act of God.

The botched election might have cost the commission about N4 billion in logistics, deployment and allowances to the over 400, 000 ad-hoc staff, comprising mainly National Youth Service Corps members.

However, the Commission said it was not contemplating asking for more money from the Federal Government.

INEC had so far received almost N100 billion for the voters' registration and the conduct of the election

In his reaction, INEC Director of Public Affairs, Iorwiese Emmanuel Umenger, would not want to comment on the cost of the rescheduled elections to INEC, saying no sacrifice was too much.

Said he: 'We were overwhelmed by the show of support that we should go ahead and do all to conduct good election. Whatever cost will be in the best interest of the country. INEC doesn't contemplate asking for more money.'

On the botched election, Umenger described it as an act of God; otherwise the development could not have arisen.

'What happened is an act of God. Japan, with all it sophisticated technologically, they have been planning against Tsunami but what happened now that they were caught napping. We had plan B but it's just that it didn't work. It was not sabotage, it is an act of God.'