INEC reschedules elections in parts of Lagos, Plateau, Rivers

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rescheduled voting for today in 10 polling units at Victoria Garden City (VGC), Lagos, following disagreements over the relocation of the polling units.

Voting has also been rescheduled for today in Butura Ward in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State as well as Asari-Toru Local Government Area (LGA) and parts of Degema LGA in Rivers State.

The commission had moved the 10 polling units to locations outside the gate of the VGC as against their original designated spots.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, told newsmen after speaking with the residents that voting would now be held today between 8.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.

He said the residents had earlier been informed of the relocation of the polling units to spots outside the VGC gate following an alleged hostage-taking of INEC officials during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.

He said: “We had an issue during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly Elections when our corps member ad-hoc staff claimed that they were held hostage till about 4 am on February 26.

“Most of them were hesitant to come here today.

“Consequently, we sent a message to the estate leadership to inform them that today’s elections would be held in front of the gate.

“We mobilised and our officials were here before 8 a.m., but the estate’s leadership claimed that non-resident hoodlums might destabilise the process outside the gate. So, they did not feel secure.”

Agbaje added that statistics show that VGC has eight polling units at the VGC Park and two others outside the park, all designated by INEC.

He said also that statistics showed that there were 6,024 registered voters in the city, 5,624 of whom collected their Permanent Voter Cards.

“When we got here, we saw a different situation where it was even difficult for security operatives to contain.

“I had to inform INEC national headquarters about the situation and it was agreed that we should mobilise here tomorrow morning at 8.30 to conduct the election.

“We are still appealing to the corps members to come on Sunday. But if they don’t come, we shall mobilise our regular staff because they will be free after today’s exercise,” Agbaje said.

In Plateau State, INEC rescheduled voting in Butura Ward in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State to today, owning to logistics problem.

The state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Oliver Agundu, told reporters that election materials such as ballot papers meant for the ward were taken to another LGA in error.

He said that in order not to disenfranchise members of the community, the election in the area would now hold on Sunday, March 19.

He regretted any inconveniences caused by the delay and eventual shift of the election.

He urged members of the community to come out in their numbers to exercise their franchise.

In the case of Rivers State, rescheduled voting will take place in Asari-Toru Local Government Area (LGA) and parts of Degema LGA.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Dr. Johnson Sinikiem, said elections were not conducted in the affected places yesterday “as a result of the voters resisting deployment of election officials and materials for Governorship and State.”

He added: “House of Assembly election. Voters and other stakeholders demanded seeing the Ward Collation Officers before they would allow election to commence.

“At Ward 14 of Degema LGA, voters equally demanded that the SPO must come to the RAC with collation sheet which is the responsibility of Collation Officers, thereby not allowing election to hold.

“Standing on this premise and relying on section 24 of the Electoral Act 2022, the INEC has decided to conduct the election of Asari-Toru local Government Area and Ward 14 of Degema Local Government Area on the 19 of March, 2023.”

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