Awka – The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has backed down on its earlier decision to coordinate movement of non-sensitive materials for the conduct of the Anambra Governorship election, from Imo State.
The INEC had proposed the arrangement allegedly, because of the reconstruction work ongoing at its base in Awka, Anambra State Capital, which was partly burned down by unknown gunmen earlier this year.
The arrangement by INEC had generated a lot of criticism, even as political parties alleged plans by the electoral umpire to rig the November 6 governorship election in the state.
But in a statement yesterday after a meeting with stakeholders, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of the INEC, Festus Okoye said the initial decision to store the materials in Owerri, Imo state, was taken in good faith.
“It will be recalled that our State Office in Awka was attacked by unknown gunmen.
“The damage to the physical facility was extensive, so too was the destruction of movable materials, including 50% of the non-sensitive materials already delivered for the election.
“While the Commission is making efforts to rebuild the physical facilities, we took a pragmatic decision to distribute the replacement non-sensitive materials from our South East Zonal Stores in Owerri in order to meet our deadlines.
“For clarity, the non-sensitive materials are the non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 items such as hand sanitizers and face masks, envelopes, posters, stickers, sellotapes, scissors, liquid gum and other stationery items required mainly at the polling unit level,” he said.
Okoye however said following a review of the deadlines for the completion of work on the destroyed physical facilities, the Commission is satisfied that the ongoing work will be completed by the end of this month.
“Consequently, the Commission is now in a position to operate from our office in Awka where the batching and distribution of all non-sensitive materials will take place.
“We appeal to all stakeholders to continue to cooperate with the Commission for a transparent and credible election in Anambra State,” he urged.