The storage of electoral materials is an ongoing topic of discussion between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), according to the commission.
Festus Okoye, the INEC Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, made this announcement on Monday, July 18.
This came weeks after Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC chairman, had said that sensitive materials would no longer be stored in the CBN due to the plans of the governor of the central bank, Godwin Emefiele, to run for president.
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Yakubu had stated that since the collaboration began, the electoral body has never experienced a problem with the CBN, but added that owing to “present circumstances,” a different solution would be found.
Reasons And Ongoing Discussions Between Both Organisations
But speaking on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, Okoye said logistics measures taken in Ekiti and Osun governorship elections would not be sustainable for the general election.
In order to manage the logistics of the electoral materials, he claimed that the commission used the services of the Nigerian Air Force.
He also said that due to the overwhelming volume of ballots and other sensitive materials, the commission will “sit down” with the CBN to develop plans for the 2023 elections.
You cannot use the Ekiti governorship election and Osun governorship election as a measure of what will happen in 2023.
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.
The INEC Commissioner further stressed;
But for the 2023 general election, we are going to have over 95 million ballot papers printed for the presidential election. Over 95 million will be printed for the senatorial election; over 95 million papers will be printed for the House of Representatives election. Then it goes down.
It’s 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 material 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 of how to manage logistics during the 2023 elections. But no decision has been made.
When you have to move materials to 36 states of the federation and the capital territory, it’s a completely different ball game.”