The Katsina State Independent National Electoral Commission will begin the distribution of sensitive materials to the 34 local government areas in the state on Wednesday (today) for Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly polls.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Alhaji Jibrin Zarewa, told The PUNCH in an exclusive interview in Katsina that by the morning of February 23, each polling centre would have materials ready to start voting.
Katsina, which is President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state, has 4,902 Polling Units and 1,750 Voting Points, bringing the total of Voting Centres to 6,652.
Zarewa explained that the procedure adopted was to move the electoral materials from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Katsina on Wednesday (today) to the local government areas.
He added that on Thursday morning (tomorrow), the materials would be separated according to the number of wards in the state, while on Friday morning, electoral officers in the LGAs would take possession of the materials for disruption to the wards and voting centres in the early hours of February 23.
He stated, “This Wednesday (today), we will move them from CBN to local government areas.
“On Thursday, which is tomorrow, we will separate them ward-by-ward, while in the morning on Friday, we will give them to the electoral officers in the local governments and the presiding officers in that order.
“At the wards, refresher training will be conducted for the ad hoc staff, while the materials will be moved to the polling units very early on Saturday morning; that is February 23.”
On how the state INEC responded to the postponement of the elections from February 16 to February 23, Zarewa told The PUNCH that the office simply retrieved all the items already distributed and handed them over to the CBN in Katsina.
“We were not affected in terms of receiving materials for the elections or retrieving them when the exercise was shifted by one week.
“We were able to get all materials intact. Last week, all our materials were packed and taken back to the CBN.
“We took them back item-by-item, and not a pin was missing”, he added.
Zarewa spoke as political parties resumed campaigns again in the state ahead of the polls.
The development followed the decision of the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, to reverse the ban on campaigns by parties.
Yakubu had earlier disallowed candidates and political parties from campaigns, saying that the exercise closed legally on February 14.
But, following protests and pressures mounted on INEC across the country, the electoral umpire reversed itself on Monday, allowing campaigns to run till 24 hours to polling on Saturday morning. The Punch