The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the Saturday Presidential and National Assembly elections in 141 polling units in Yenegoa, Bayelsa state.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, briefing newsmen on the ongoing national election on Saturday in Abuja, said the exercise was postponed in the affected polling units due to disruption of the election process.
Yakubu said the decision was made as members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving as ad hoc staff expressed apprehension about going back to the locations after the disruption.
Yakubu said both the presidential and national assembly elections at the affected polling units would take place on Sunday.
“We have a situation in Bayelsa state, particularly in the capital, Yenogoa, where in four wards: wards 4,6,8,14 involving 141 polling units, the process was disrupted.
“We remobilised security to proceed with the process but the corps members expressed some apprehension about going back.
“So we met with the security agencies and decided that voting in these 141 polling units where all the materials are actually intact will take place tomorrow morning.
“Remember we are not only conducting the presidential election but we’re also doing senatorial and federal constituencies.’’ Yakubu said.
According to him, so, we will do as much as possible to conduct the election so that we can conclude the processes.
“So, we have an agreement to hold the election in these locations tomorrow,” he said.
He also said that the commission was suspending House of Representatives election in Esan and Igueben federal constituency in Edo state, due to missing party logo on ballot paper.
He said that the decision was arrived at after INEC meeting with stakeholders.
“In Edo State, we had a situation that we handled yesterday, one of the parties whose logo is on the results sheet but is not on the ballot paper.
“In a meeting with the stakeholders, a decision was taken on the materials and the elections, so we have suspended the election for Esan North, South, and Iguebe.
“The ballot papers will be reprinted and the election will now hold along with the state elections on March 11, that is in the next two weeks
“We are determined that no Nigerian should be disenfranchised,” Yakubu said.
The INEC Chairman also disclosed that the commission lost three additional Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines in Anambra State, after the eight that were earlier snatched by thugs in Delta and Kastina.
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“Unfortunately, we also lost three BVAS in Ayamelum in Anambra State but we have recovered from all these losses because we have contingency arrangements to respond to such attack.
“There were issues in Abia, Imo, Kebbi, and other places; I am happy to say that the process is ongoing until the last person in the queue before 2:30 pm votes.”
Yakubu added that in Imo state, the election was ongoing except for a few areas marred by insecurity, and the voting in Kebbi was ongoing.
He said that in Lagos, INEC closely followed the situation in Okota, Mafuloku, Oshodi, and Elegushi, and was able to normalize the situation in a number of places while voting continued.
“We will keep our eyes on the processes in the other areas that I had mentioned.”
He said while attack had been shifted to its BVAS, INEC would continue to take measures to protect the machines as well to proceed courageously to conclude a free, fair and credible election.
Speaking on the insecurity incident in Goza, Borno state, Yakubu said that the Army had confirmed that it was an attack.
“I want to report that the military has confirmed that it was an 81 millimeter mortar attack on two facilities including a fueling station near INEC office, but no damage to INEC facilities and no casualties.
“Some people were injured and they are in hospital, we wish them a speedy recovery, but no destruction on INEC facilities and no disruption of the electoral process.” (NAN)