By Adekola Afolabi
Ahead of the Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly polls, the Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Dr. Rufus Akeju, yesterday evening began the distribution of sensitive materials to all the commission’s local government area offices.
Materials distributed included ballot papers and result forms for the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The exercise held at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Akure, was witnessed by agents of all contesting political parties, INEC officials and security agents.
This is coming as the REC disclosed that elections would not be held in two Polling Units in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of the state due to what he called protracted and intractable dispute between the Apois and the Ijaws of the council for many years back.
Akeju who listed the affected Polling Units to include Osari (PU 006) and Igangbo (PU 007) of Apoi 1 (RA 01) of Ese-Odo Local Government Area, explained that the problem of the Polling Units was well known to the commission, while every effort made in the past to reverse the status quo had proved abortive.
He, however, said the commission was ready as all necessary arrangements for the conduct of free, fair, credible, peaceful elections with an acceptable outcome have been made.
According to Akeju, the commission had earlier received all non-sensitive election materials and distributed them to the commission’s local government offices.
The REC also noted that the INEC had concluded work on the recruitment, training and deployment of all ad-hoc personnel, saying that the election personnel were sourced majorly from serving Corps Members in the state who would serve as Presiding Officers, students of Federal Tertiary Institutions, members of staff of Federal MDAs who are on Grade Level 09 to 14, as well as ex-corps members whose year of exit from service was 2016 to date.
“All these will be deployed as Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs), Presiding Officers (POs), and Assistant Presiding Officers (APOs)”, Akeju said.
Akeju explained that the collation of results of the presidential election from all the local government areas would be done at the state office in the new Collation Centre, pointing out that only security, election personnel, INEC officials, accredited local and foreign observers, state collation party agents and accredited journalists would be allowed access to the centre.
He revealed that after the three days extension which ended this week Monday, INEC has effectively distributed a total of 1, 478, 460 Permanent Voters cards (PVCs), while uncollected PVCs remain 372, 888. Ondo state has a total of 1, 828, 219 registered voters.
He said all Electoral Officers have been directed to immediately return all uncollected PVCs to the state head office for safe keeping.
Akeju further stated that the various Polling Units and Collation Centres in the state have been identified, located and assured of their availability for the elections.