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No plan to shift 2019 polls – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Nigerians and the international community that despite several litigations arising from the primaries organised by political parties, it would not postpone the date for any of the forthcoming general elections.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Thursday in Abuja at a stakeholders meeting organised by the commission.

He assured that the commission under him would continue to obey all court orders, and would not be deterred in the discharge of its functions.

“Court cases arising from the conduct of congress and primaries have risen to 640. INEC has been dragged to court 640 times, we have received 540 request for certified true copy of documents, we have received 186 petitions over the conduct of congresses and party primaries.

“It is the policy of INEC to obey court orders. People ask if the judgements from these courts are decided close to elections if INEC will postpone the elections, INEC will not postpone any elections but we will make contingency arrangements in case some of the orders come close to elections,” Prof. Yakubu said.

He said that smart card readers would be deployed in the 2019 elections and expressed surprise that many Nigerians complained of not collecting their PVCs at the centres.

Yakubu reiterated that the commission printed the total of 14.2 million PVCs after voter’s registration adding that the commission would meet with a view to possibly review the deadline for collection.

“Let me assure the nation and the stakeholders that smart card readers will be deployed in the 2019 elections. The next big issue for us is the voters’ register and the availability of the PVCs.

“We have 14.2 million new voters; the commission printed 14.2 million cards. The commission is going to meet later today and where it is necessary, we will review the arrangements for the collection of PVC,” he said.

According to him, priority has been given to the elderly, visibly pregnant women and the physically challenged persons to vote at the polling units or voting points.

Also speaking on the preparations for the elections, the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, told the stakeholders that no VIP would be allowed to move around with police escort on Election Days.

“No escort of VIPs on election day, any policeman who contravenes this order would be arrested,” the IGP said.

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