The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commissioner, Prof Mahmod Yakubu, says there is no going back on February 16 general elections.
Yakubu said this in an interview on Osasu Show posted on the show’s You Tube Channel.
He said, “I cannot see any possibility of a postponement. We started this a long time ago; we have gone ahead with preparations. INEC is not even contemplating the possibility of a postponement.”
He said the commission had contacted the National Youth Service Corps to release corps members for elections.
Yakubu added, “We are liaising with the NYSC for ad hoc workers to be used for the elections, and where there are shortfalls, the commission has a very clear policy: we will make up the difference by using students of federal tertiary institutions.
“Unless the number is exhausted and there is still a shortfall, we will then go to the state tertiary institutions.”
He said the commission had replaced over 62,000 ballot boxes, which were either damaged or destroyed.
Yakubu also said the electoral body had procured an additional 200,000 ballot boxes for the presidential election.
He said, “We needed to replace 27,000 smart card readers after the stress tests on the ones used in the 2015 general elections. We have changed the batteries, the SIM cards and the memory cards.”
Yakubu said the introduction of technology had made it impossible for any party to win an election by a wide margin.
He said the Permanent Voter Cards and the smart card readers had been able to tackle ballot rigging, hence the Ekiti and Osun governorship polls last year were tightly contested.
The INEC boss said, “Between 2015 and November 2018, we conducted elections in 195 constituencies, the largest number of offseason elections.
“The turnout varied from a little over 50 per cent in Katsina to as low as 2.9 per cent in Ifako/Ijaye in Lagos and 3.4 per cent in Eti Osa state constituency in Lagos.
“I think because elections in Nigeria have progressively and incrementally improved, there is no possibility now that you will have the kind of margins that we used to experience in our elections before the introduction of technology, basically the PVC and the smart card reader.
“The elections in terms of outcomes and votes are becoming more international. You can see the outcomes of the elections are becoming more and more competitive and closer to the kind of results we see even in advanced democracies.”
Yakubu said the commission was ready for the general elections.