By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja – The Independent National Commission (INEC) has said that tracking of materials deployed for elections in the country has come to stay.
INEC National Commissioner, Prince Solomon Soyebi, said this at the de-briefing of accredited observers for the 2019 general elections.
He said that the commission had developed application being used to track the movement of its deployed election materials.
Soyebi said that the device was used recently in the just conducted elections including Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and “I can confirm that the tracking device is working well.
“We are tracking our election materials and the vehicle that are conveying them. The issue of tracking of election materials has come to stay,” Soyebi said.
Also speaking, Dr Adekunle Ogunmola denied the claim that some of the ad hoc staff used for the elections were not paid.
Ogunmola said the claim had earlier been denied by the Lagos Resident Electoral Commissioner and the National Youth Service Corps Director General have clarified the issue.
“INEC has paid all the entitlement of the ad hoc staff,” he said.
Earlier, Prof. Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, said that the de-briefing session was a platform provided by the Commission for observers to discuss their field experiences during the elections towards providing useful lessons for the conduct of future elections.
Okoosi-Simbine said that the de-briefing served as a precursor to the more comprehensive reports the Commission was expecting from the observer groups.
“Accordingly, the de-briefing session offers us the opportunity to discuss a variety of issues, focusing on various aspects of the electoral process,” she said.
Okoosi-Simbine said that going by the Commission’s record, a total of 120 Domestic and 36 Foreign Groups were accredited for the 2019 General Elections.
She added that submissions by the observer groups also indicated that over 85,000 observers were deployed and participated in each of the two elections.
“The final assessment on the levels of observer’s participation is being obtained from our respective state offices.”
Some of the observer groups commended INEC for its deployment of materials and personnel for the elections, especially the March 9 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections, saying it was an improvement over that of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
They also commended the functionality of the smart card readers during the elections, while some groups expressed mixed reactions to the deployment and performance of security agencies for the 2019 general elections.
While some of the groups commended the performance of the security personnel deployed for the elections, others expressed concern over the number of personnel deployed to certain areas of the country.
Mr Abdullahi Ari, an observer with the Network for Community Advancement and Empowerment, said that the security agencies, especially the police should be commended.
Ari, however, said that it was observed that there were no presence of security personnel in some polling units, some with less than the three personnel promised by the Inspector General of Police, while in some place more than three security personnel were deployed to some other polling units.
He, however, commended INEC for the improvement in the deployment of logistics during the elections, especially during the March 9 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
Mrs Ada Enemuoh, the Adaobi Enemuoh Initiative for Development, stressed the need for INEC to work out the modality in which a political party will appear on ballot paper to avoid time wasting during electoral process.
Mrs Aisha Akande, Federation of Muslim Women’s Organisation in Nigeria commended INEC for making special voting arrangements for aged voters, pregnant and nursing women, and People Living with Disability, urging the commission to sustain the arrangement.
Some of the de-briefing’s agenda were logistics and deployment of poll officials; opening, layout and commencement of accreditation and voting; and performance of election officials.
Others are the performance of the Smart Card Readers, Conduct of security personnel; conduct of election observations, collation and declaration of election results at the various levels.(NAN)