Independent National Electoral Commission on Saturday shifted voting in Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections in 141 polling units in Bayelsa State to Sunday (today).
The commission also moved voting in three Local Government Areas of Edo State till March 11, the date for the governorship and state House of Assembly elections.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, in his situation report briefing on Saturday afternoon, explained that voting was interrupted by thugs in the affected places but that security was later reinforced. However, he noted that the corps members serving as ad hoc staff at the polling units were reluctant to continue with the exercise, which led to the postponement of the exercise.
He stated, “In Bayelsa State, particularly in the capital were four wards, Wards 4, 6, 8, and 14 involving 141 polling units, the process was disrupted. We re-mobilised 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 (Sunday) morning.
“Remember we are not only conducting the presidential election but we are also doing senatorial and federal constituencies 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 (Sunday).”
Also, in Imo State, Yakubu said thugs also disrupted voting in some polling units in seven Local Government Areas.
He also noted that elections in three Local Government Areas in Edo State had been postponed to March 11. This was as a result of a party whose logo was on the result sheet but not on the ballot paper.
Yakubu further pointed out that more Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines were carted away by thugs.
He stated, “Unfortunately, we continue to lose some of the BVAS. I reported in the morning the loss of some devices. Unfortunately, we also lost three BVAS in Ayamelum in Anambra State but we have recovered. There were issues arising from the commencement process in Abia, Imo and Kebbi states among other places but the process later commenced in Abia.
“In Lagos, we closely followed the situation in Okota, Mafoluku, Oshodi, and Elegushi. We were able to normalise the situation in a number of places and voting went on.”
Speaking on the situation that warranted the postponement in Edo State, he stated, “We had a situation that we handled yesterday (Friday), 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 LGAs. 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.
Meanwhile, the INEC chairman said the national collation centre at the International Conferecne Centre would officially be opened by midday on Sunday.