Elections: How Lagos, Gombe result sheets were found in Enugu- Official

Voting commence in Oshogbo. Aged people allowed to vote first.
File: An elderly woman casting her vote in Osun State during the 2018 September Governorship election

Elections result sheets meant for Lagos and Gombe states in the forthcoming elections were found in Enugu State, few hours to the commencement of the polls, an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said.

Also, result sheets meant for some local government areas in the state could not be found until the postponement was announced.

As at Wednesday afternoon, the result sheets for the Aninri Local Government Area in Enugu West Senatorial District are yet to be found by INEC.

Aninri is the local government area of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who is seeking reelection into the Senate for the fifth time.

In an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Enugu, Emeka Ononamadu, said all election materials belonging to other states ”but which strayed” into the states have been returned to the states they belong to.

He said efforts are on to ensure that the rescheduled elections hold peacefully and are free, fair and credible.

Mr Ekweremadu had on Monday night raised the alarm of alleged plan by unnamed persons to frustrate his return to the Senate, saying result sheets meant for the five local government areas in his district were still missing.

INEC pushes back

But Mr Ononamadu denied that the result sheets for the state were missing, saying there was only a shortage of the sheets.

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He said corrections are being made to ensure that things are in order.

“The problem we had was a shortage not that the result sheets were missing,” Mr Ononamadu said.

“There were other ‘things’ belonging to other states that we found in our packages like Gombe and Lagos States but they have been returned to them. Results sheets for Gombe and Lagos States were found in our packages but they have since been moved back.

“All our result sheets are complete now except for the Aninri local government area. Except that, everything is okay.”

Mr Ononamadi said his office is crossing all ‘ts’ and dotting all ‘is,’ ahead of the polls. He said he has been crosschecking the election materials in the company of political party representatives and security agents.

“I can give you a final status of the whole thing this evening when we conclude the arrangement because we have been going round with the security agencies and political parties to confirm the contents of the bagged items so that there are no items belonging to other states in our bags,” he added.

Ad-hoc staff

Speaking on the yet-to-be-paid ad-hoc staffers, the resident electoral commissioner said the payment is not done by the Enugu office of INEC but by the national headquarters through the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He said since it is an e-payment so ”the alert may not come for everyone at a go”, but he was sure that due diligence was done to ensure that errors are not committed.

“The payment is properly audited and controlled. But let me tell you that what actually happened is that most of those claiming they are yet to be paid ‘gatecrashed’ to the training. Let’s say if we have money for 306 supervisory presiding officers (SPOs) and 346 attended the training, with about 39 gatecrashers, what do you do? Many of them even wrote wrong account numbers and we had to be calling them again to send their correct account numbers. They wrote very poorly.”

Mr Ononamadi said about 18,000 ad-hoc staff have been recruited to take part in the rescheduled elections in the state and that 296 of them will function as the supervising presiding officers.

He debunked the claim that names already on the list as ad-hoc staff were ‘substituted’.

He said about 26,000 people applied for slots for 18,000. “And would we have engaged everyone? That is not possible.”

When PREMIUM TIMES visited the Enugu office of INEC on Wednesday morning, Pius Eze, the spokesperson, said all the card readers had been already reconfigured.

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