The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, on Friday assured Nigerians that adequate preparations had been made by the commission to conduct credible election across the country today.
Jega gave the assurance at a joint news conference he addressed in his Abuja office with the Director-General, National Youths Service Corps, Brig.-Gen. Bamidele Olawumi.
He allayed fears that the arrest of some workers of the firm that produced the Permanent Voter Cards by security operatives would affect INEC operations throughout the election period.
Jega said, “I received a letter from the Chairman of Act Technologies Limited, the contractor that is handling the production of the PVCs and the card readers on Thursday.
“In the letter, he conveyed to the commission that two of his workers are under investigation and detention by the State Security Service and that the detention of the two staff, is affecting their operations in the company.
“It is not the chairman of the company that was arrested, but his staff. As far as I know, it is not affecting our operations for the election. We have already deployed for the election so it will not affect the process.”
The INEC boss described as libelous, malicious and irresponsible, a statement credited to a political party which alleged that the commission compromised the integrity of the electoral process by awarding the contract for the production of the PVCs and card reader supply to an already blacklisted firm.
He also clarified that the commission’s technical staff were fully in charge of the card readers’ operations and that contrary to the political party’s allegation, the supplier of the card readers was not in possession of their ‘master key.’
He said, “The Acts Technologies Nigeria Limited competed for it (contract) alongside other Nigerians; went through due diligence, bureau of public Procurement and bid for it. The contract was approved by the Federal Executive Council because the quantum of money involved was beyond what the agency can release on its own.
“As far as we are concerned, there is no record indicating that Act Technologies Limited has been blacklisted either by INEC or any other person with regards to procurement of materials for us.”
Jega, however, said there should not be any controversy over the choice of the electorate to vote and remain at the polling unit or to go home.
He said, “We are concerned about the integrity of the electoral process and we believe that the transparency of the process will be enhanced if after casting their votes, the electorate remain to know who has won in their polling units. “It is not in the guidelines that people should vote and go or to stay after voting. If people choose to, they should be allowed to stay so long as they are law-abiding and conduct themselves peacefully.”
The INEC boss added that over 700, 000 temporary staff, including 134, 000 corps members were deployed to conduct election in the 119, 973 polling units across the country.