• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Council of State insists polls must go on as scheduled

The political fever is back

The National Council of State rose from a seven-hour meeting insisting that the general elections must proceed as scheduled.

It also asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take a decision based on its preparedness.

There are also indications that the elections may be postponed in some of the troubled states.

The Council of State which is the highest advisory body in the land consists of the president, vice president, former heads of state, former chief justices of Nigeria, governors, minister of the Federal Capital Territory, the attorney general and minister of justice and the leadership of the National Assembly.

The major responsibility of the Council of State is advising the president on matters concerning activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission and security issues. It also ratifies key appointments like that of the inspector general of police, among others.

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The body summoned Attahiru Jega, the INEC chairman, to brief it on the readiness of the election body on the forthcoming elections.

Some Nigerians have been clamouring for the postponement of the elections, basing their calls on the inability of INEC to distribute the permanent voter cards (PVCs) to all registered voters.

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Obviously divided over the issue of the postponement of the election which is just nine days away, governor of Imo, Rochas Okorocha and Ondo State’s Olusegun Mimiko briefed journalists, each trying to make a point.

Mimiko told select journalists on his way out that council insisted that INEC carries out its civic duty of holding the elections, adding that since there were security concerns elections may be postponed in the troubled zones, for a later date.

It was gathered from sources privy to the marathon meeting that it was a heated session where the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, was asked to brief council on the preparedness of the election body. It was gathered that he had said about 75 percent of voters had collected their permanent voter cards in the troubled states of Borno while 55 percent had collected in Abia State.

Questions were further raised as to why a troubled state would record a higher collection than a state that is stable.

Following the security briefing during the meeting, it was also gathered that the election maybe postponed in the troubled Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe states.

The three governors who briefed newsmen were Imo State’s Rochas Okorocha, Ondo State Governor Segun Mimiko and Adamawa’s James Ngilari.

At the briefing, Mimiko told journalists that the council mostly dwelt on the preparedness of INEC, stating that “INEC had the benefit of input from council members and security chiefs and agencies”.

He added that issues of distribution of PVCs, card readers, the extent of piloting to ensure that people are familiar with the machines and security issues were on the front burner at the meeting.