The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo State said it is ready to ensure free and fair presidential elections throughout the state.
Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Francis Ezeonu, said this yesterday in Owerri, adding that all staff members and ad-hoc workers have been re-mobilised for tomorrow’s elections.
Ezeonu also disclosed that the Imo INEC would retrieve all electoral materials from the Owerri branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday.
He told The Guardian that he had been working with security agencies and members of staff to get the logistics ready for the exercise, adding that the ad-hoc staff, who went on a short break when the polls were postponed last week, have been recalled for the exercise.
He said, “When we got the directive that the polls had been postponed, we retrieved all the materials and returned them to the CBN. Although, some of the materials had been opened, we checked and found that their integrity was intact.
“The security persons that escorted the materials were still at the local councils and once the instruction came we took control of the materials and returned them to the CBN.”
On preparations for the elections, he said the body created a camp where everyone involved in the polls would stay for one night, ready to be moved to their respective locations.
“All drivers and vehicles, youth corps members and other ad-hoc staff are at the camp. We will start distributing materials to polling officers in the night, rehearse the duties of each of them and if there is still time, they can rest for a while.
“We have water tanks in the camp and by 5.30 a.m., they are expected to get up, clean up themselves and start getting ready to go to their polling units,” he added.
Restating INEC’s readiness for free and fair elections in the state, Ezeonu said the electoral umpire would go to the CBN with representatives of the political parties to retrieve the materials for deployment to the local councils.
“We have been transparent in all our transactions with the political parties. We inform them of our activities because our interest is on free, fair and credible elections.
“We have no interest in who wins. Rather, it is the political parties’ responsibility to convince the electorate to vote for them; we will only follow the will of the people,” he stated.