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Election materials will remain with CBN, says INEC

THE Independent National Electoral Commission has said it will continue to keep sensitive election materials with the Central Bank of Nigeria ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, INEC, Festus Okoye, who made this known in an interview with Channels Television yesterday, said the commission would resume engagement with the CBN on how to resolve issues concerning the storage of election materials.

INEC had in June declared that sensitive election materials would no longer be in the custody the apex bank over the criticisms that trailed the affiliation of the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, with the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Okoye, however, said INEC would face what he described as “a logistics nightmare” if it does not reach a deal with the CBN over its election materials.

He said, “It is going to be a huge logistics nightmare. What we intend to do going forward, since there are issues with keeping our materials with CBN. We have not had enough opportunity to sit down with the Central Bank to review the entire issue surrounding our moving our materials with the Nigerian Air Force.

“We are definitely going to do that. If at the end of the day, we are not satisfied with the arrangement, then we are going to look for a new logistics pathway for how to manage logistics during the 2023 elections. But no decision has been made.”

Okoye insisted that the recently concluded elections in Ekiti and Osun governorship storage measures will not be tenable going into the general elections in 2023.

“You cannot use the Ekiti governorship election and Osun governorship election as a measure of what will happen in 2023,” he said.

Okoye added, “This is because, for instance, in the Ekiti governorship election, we had less than a million registered voters. In the Osun governorship election, we were shy of two million registered voters. These are stand-alone elections.

“For the Ekiti election, we utilised the service of the Nigerian Air force and they flew the materials into Akure airport. We did the same thing with the Osun election, and we moved the materials to our state offices.”

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