The Independent National Electoral Commission in Imo State has commenced the distribution of election materials to various local government areas for the Saturday presidential and National Assembly elections amidst complaints of insecurity in some areas of the state.
INEC, in the presence of heads of security agencies in the state, political party agents and observers, had earlier carried out an inspection of the materials at the Central Bank of Nigeria premises to ensure that they were complete and intact before distribution.
The election materials distributed include sensitive and non-sensitive materials, Biometric Voters Accreditation, election result sheets and ballot materials amongst others.
Speaking to newsmen on Thursday, the Imo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Sylvia Agu, said the exercise was to showcase INEC’s preparedness for the election after which they would dispatch the materials to various council areas in the state.
She lamented the last-minute refusal of National Youth Services Corps members to work in Orlu, Orsu and Okigwe LGAs due to insecurity.
The REC, who regretted that the corps members had already been trained and were ready for the job, expressed worries about the insecurity situation.
Prof. Agu said that the commission was now left with no option but to go outside INEC arrangement for corps members to recruit students from tertiary institutions to be trained as presiding officers and supervising officers to be deployed to Orlu, Orsu and Okigwe LGAs respectively for the Saturday’s election.
In their separate responses, the Peoples Democratic Party agent, Martin Ejiogu, said that they had seen the cartoons of ballot materials but were yet to see the content.
He re-emphasised the need for adequate security in all polling units adding that where there would be insecurity, elections would be withheld for another day.
Also speaking, the All Progressive Congress agent, Barr. Cyprian Akaolisa, expressed satisfaction with the level of transparency seen
He said,” On behalf of APC, I thank INEC for the way and manner they displayed the election materials”.
While he said that he did not encourage any problem during the election, Akaolisa said that there could be pockets of insecurity but assured of the determination of security agencies to tackle it.