The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed fear over the lingering sit-at-home protests by the Indigenous People of Biafra, stating that the development is eating into its preparations for the November governorship poll in Anambra State.
Anambra State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, stated this on Thursday during ‘INEC Anambra Election Monitoring and Support Centre EMBER Zone Implementer Workshop held in Awka.
He insisted that non-sensitive materials for the election would be brought in from Owerri, Imo State, because of the destruction of the Awka office of INEC
He said,”Our preparations are on course, even with all the challenges we are facing, such as the attack on our state office on May 23rd and the sit-at-home which are eating into our preparation time, but we are doing our best.
“Adhoc staff are already being recruited online and we are interacting with the stakeholders and we are happy with where we are now and we are confident that coming November 6, we will have a successful election.
He said the commission would recruit no fewer than 25,000 Adhoc workers for the poll.
Some stakeholders in the state had expressed reservation over bringing such materials from Owerri where the state governor, Hope Uzodimma had reportedly said he would deploy both “seen and unseen forces” to win the poll for the All Progressives Congress.
But the Anambra REC said such fear was unfounded, stating the materials that would be brought in from Owerri were not capable of being used to rig poll.
He said,”You know that Anambra State INEC office was attacked on may 23rd and that led to the destruction of our store. Since that incident, we had to fall back on INEC zonal store.
” INEC has zonal offices and for the South East, the zonal office is in Owerri and that is where we have been trying to remobilise for the election.
“By the way, the nonsensitive materials we’re bringing from Owerri are face masks, hand sanitizers, twine, biro, papers, vests and those kind of things. I don’t know how keeping those materials in Owerri will compromise our election.
“The sensitive materials will be kept at the Anambra branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria. So there is no need for the alarm being raised.
“I am shocked by the protest concerning this issue. The commission had already issued a statement acknowledging the concerns of stakeholders and we are sensitive to their concerns.
“We will make everything possible to bring our materials to Awka especially as the damaged structures are being restored. If things go according to plan, the store will be ready by the end of this mouth, although one cannot be sure about what happens in construction and contractors. So this Owerri is the last option for us but we hope that we will assemble our materials and distribute than from Awka.