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ELECTION SUSPENDED IN 13 SENATORIAL DISTRICTS

By NBF News
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Faced with Herculean task of printing more ballot papers for the rescheduled Saturday's National Assembly Election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has turned to local contractors to deliver 19 million fresh ballot papers before Saturday. The ballot papers are to replace those already used in many states during the aborted April 2 election.

However, the situation reports from the states on the readiness of the Commission has shown that it could not meet up with the logistic challenges in some areas in some states, especially where the election was held last Saturday before the sudden cancellation.

A decision extracted from the meeting of the Commission's leadership involving the National Commissioners indicated barring any last minute change of mind, the INEC has ruled out elections on Saturday in 13 Senatorial districts and 45 Federal Constituencies.

The Senatorial districts and Federal Constituencies, it was gathered spread across, Kwara, Oyo and Osun states.

The initial proposal, sources revealed was that some states to be exempted from the polls due to logistics challenges which apart from ballot papers also included transportation. Such states had included Lagos and four other states in the North but the meeting decided later to instruct the Resident Electoral Commissions across the country to make use of commercial vehicles to fill the gap created by the absence of official vehicles to ferry officials and materials for the elections.

INEC, it would be recalled, took delivery of 530 Hi-Lux pickup vans when there are 774 local governments that should have at least one each in addition to other arrangements on transport. INEC sources disclosed to Daily Sun that five local contractors in addition to the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company have been contacted for the printing of the ballot shortfall, which cost could not be ascertained last night.

When contacted on the approval for the use of Commuters vehicle by the state INEC to distribute sensitive materials, Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman said all arrangements were being made to solve the logistics problems being faced by the Commission In a tactical confirmation of the development, he explained that he was yet to see an organization that would be able to make available vehicles for all the 774 local government areas and the 120, 000 polling units spread across the country.

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps Commandant-General Ade Abolurin had chartered some 20 commercial vehicles to help stranded INEC officials out of a collation centre and Garki II in Abuja last Saturday. INEC Director of Public Affairs, Emmanuel Umenger, when contacted said he was not aware of the directive to the RECs to make use of Commercial vehicles for the purpose of distributing election materials.