We’ve no facts on threats to elections – Council of State

on January 23, 2019

The National Council of State (NCS) yesterday declared that it is unaware of threats to stall the conduct of the forthcoming general elections in the country.

NCS, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was not presented with reports of threats as raised by the Federal Government on Monday.
Other members of the Council are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as vice chairman, all state governors, all former heads of states and presidents, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), all former Chief Justices of Nigeria (CJN), President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had, at a world press conference in Abuja, raised the alarm accusing opposition parties of plotting widespread violence across Nigeria in order to truncate the forthcoming general elections.
He said armed bandits and Boko Haram insurgents have been mobilized to engage in massive attacks and other acts of violence in several states across the country.
The areas being targeted, according to the minister, include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara states.

Briefing State House Correspondents, the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said: “Seriously, there was no discussion on that. I am not too sure that we have that fact.”

“What we received was a briefing by INEC on how prepared they are for the election. So, their level of preparedness, that was what we listened to . There is no way INEC will come and tell us that they have information on what opposition is doing or what opposition is not doing, but what INEC is doing is what was received and there was no discussion about that,” he noted.

Akeredolu, in his presentation earlier, told reporters that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, briefed the council on the organisation’s readiness for the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
The Ondo State governor said that INEC assured council members that it has received adequate funding for the exercise to ensure free, fair and credible polls on February 16 and 2nd March 2019.

He said: “The council was briefed by the INEC chairman and the briefing as accepted by everybody was lucid and clear. It was all encompassing. The INEC chairman took the Council through all the processes that are going to be followed at the national and state elections.
“In his briefing, he informed the Council of the preparedness of INEC and everybody in the Council was convinced that INEC was ready for this election. And a lot of things have been put in place and I think we all concluded that it is important for the chairman to even speak to the nation on the preparedness of INEC for this election.

“That would convince all of us that this forthcoming elections would be free and fair. They have improved card readers; the details of what have been done to improve it were made known. It was made known that look, the process of continuous voting and accreditation system was the best so that when you are accredited, you vote at the same time and you leave.

“He also informed the council on all the necessary ballot boxes and everything to be used and change in the ballot boxes. He also informed us that rather than using collapsible ballot boxes, they are going to use framed ballot boxes, transparent ones because we have lost so many and a lot have been purchased.

“He also told the council that they are not lacking in terms of finance and that all the money appropriated, have been given to them and they are ready for the election.”

On the recent sundry allegations raised by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, including INEC’s readiness for the elections, Akeredolu said: “Election will only be successful by the participation of every body and that whatever it may be, we must take politics out of the exercise. All of us owe a duty as leaders of our people at least, to be sure that we have confidence in the electoral body, so that at the end of the day, it will assist the electoral body to succeed.”

Also present at the meeting were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki. State governors at the meeting include those of Osun, Kebbi, Zamfara, Plateau, Ebonyi, Adamawa, Edo, Lagos, Niger, Borno, Ogun, Ekiti, Kogi as well as Deputy State governors of Bauchi, Kaduna, and Rivers respectively.

Others present were the National security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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