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Saturday’s polls will hold

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Only God can stop the election – INEC

Ohaneze cannot influence Igbo votes – Moghalu

Buhari plots postponement in 3 northern states – Atiku

Presidential results, latest Wednesday – INEC

CHAIRMAN of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu  has assured that  the rescheduled election billed for Saturday must hold, stating that“only an act of God” can stop the conduct of the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly election slated for Saturday”.

Stating this in Abuja while addressing a cross-section of the diplomatic community and international election monitoring groups in Nigeria for the forthcoming election, in a briefing, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in conjunction with INEC , Prof Yakubu,  who was represented by an INEC National Commissioner, Dr Mustapha Lecky, said that the commission had put in place everything possible to ensure the elections hold on Saturday.

He said that the commission had no reason to feel that anything would stop the conduct of the election on Feb 23 and that the commission had developed a six-point agenda of what needed to be done to ensure success of the election and has completed the deployment of materials.

“We believe that as a prayerful nation the act of God has been assuaged and that things will go right, we have no reason to feel that anything will go wrong. We have received all the materials, they have been checked, audited people have been informed, party agents have gone there to check,” he said.

The umpire equally said the conclusion of declaration of the 2019 Presidential Election results may be ready by Wednesday in spite of the sheer number of presidential candidates, size of the result sheets and increased voter population.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja while briefing journalists on the state of preparedness of the commission for the polls said it would not take longer than the 2015 elections for Nigerians to know the winner of Saturday’s election.

According to him, “at yesterday’s briefing, we reported that we achieved 95% configuration of the Smart Card Readers SCR nationwide. The Card Readers were introduced in the 2015 general elections to facilitate the accreditation of voters using the PVCs. They are configured to specific polling units and only open for use at 8am on Election Day.

They automatically shut down by 10 pm in order to forestall any illegal use before the appointed time of elections. I am pleased to report that we have now achieved 100% completion of the configuration. We are good to go on this score.

“Similarly, I briefed you yesterday that our State offices had commenced the process of inviting stakeholders to the Central Bank of Nigeria to examine the retrieved materials deployed last week and to witness the batching of materials according to Local Government Areas (LGAs). Reports from the States indicate full compliance.

“I briefed you yesterday that having moved the sensitive materials to the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the forward deployment to the 774 LGAs nationwide will commence today Wednesday 20thFebruary 2019 and be concluded tomorrow,

Thursday 21st February, 2019. Already, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina, Osun, Ogun, Oyo and Taraba States have commenced the movement of materials to LGAs today. Other States will do so and conclude tomorrow. We will give a full rendition of movement to LGAs across all States of the Federation tomorrow.

“We have been making good progress on logistics. Similarly, all other arrangements for the movement of personnel from the LGAs to the Wards are on course. We will fully brief you tomorrow at 3pm”, he stated.

Meanwhile the Presidential candidate of  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has decried plots by President Muhammadu Buhari to rig the election by postponement of polls in three northern states.

Atiku said the plot was to ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shifted elections in Borno, Adamawa and Kaduna States based on security issues.

According to him, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will then on a slated date for elections in those three states, use security agents to massively rig polls in favour of Buhari.

Atiku, who stated this in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Phrank Shaibu, on Tuesday, claimed that the plot was part of the discussion Buhari had with governors of the three northern states during a closed-door meeting with them in Abuja on Tuesday.

“The implication of the plot is that President Buhari, for all his sweet words on ensuring free and fair elections and avoiding unethical measures to win at all costs, is ready to do anything just to ”capture” Borno, Adamawa, Kaduna and other states using security reasons as a pretext, ”the statement read.

Atiku, who warned that anything short of a simultaneous holding of the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections across the country on Saturday is not acceptable, stated that “the PDP would not lose any sleep over the ignoble deal since the battle to rescue Nigeria from incompetence and bad leadership will be fought by the people themselves and not by some desperate APC governors or President Buhari.”

In another development, Chief Kingsley Moghalu, presidential candidate of the Young People’s Party (YPP) has said that the endorsement of a particular candidate by Ohaneze Ndi Igbo is in vain.

Moghalu disclosed this in an interview with newsmen yesterday in Awka.

He said youths in South East were now wise to know who to vote for and not for Ohaneze to compel them on what to do. “We in the South East now know that our elders in Ohaneze have been economical with the truth, they tell us what they want us to believe for reasons best known to them.

“This time around the youth in the region have decided to vote for candidates that appeal to them in terms of development plans for the country,” he said. Moghalu said he has done much for Nigerians to deserve their votes in Feb. 23, poll.

“I did so much for the country while serving as the deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “I introduced POS services; the ATM card was also my initiative as well as Bank Verification Number (BVN) for identification of accounts. “I did all these to make the economy vibrant; it is also my contribution towards making ease of doing business possible. “If given the chance, I will do more for the country to enable it join the league of developed countries where youths will be proud to stay and earn their living,” he said.

On declaration of results, Yakubu said the commission was working to ensure that it does not keep Nigerians waiting for days without declaring the results, saying the time limit would not exceed what obtained in 2015.

“In 2015, while the Presidential Election held on a Saturday, a winner was not declared until the following Wednesday. Even though this time around we have more presidential candidates than in 2015, we have more registered voters than we had in 2015, the size of the result sheet is bigger than we had in 2015,

but we are committed to concluding the process for the Presidential elections roughly about the same time that we concluded the 2015 general elections. We will do whatever we can to ensure that we speedily conclude the process but we won’t sacrifice accuracy for speed”, he declared.

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