The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will no longer store sensitive electoral materials in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said this Saturdday in Abuja at a symposium tagged, The Electorate: A Conversation on Elections in Nigeria.
He said that in the interim, the CBN would no longer be in charge of election materials, beginning with the Ekiti State governorship poll scheduled for June 18.
Sensitive materials stored in the CBN during elections include ballot papers, result sheets, and braille ballot guide for visually-impaired persons, among others.
The development is coming on the heels of the controversy surrounding the political interest of the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, to contest the 2023 presidential election under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We are not going to use the CBN for the Ekiti election. The materials will be moved from our headquarters in Abuja to the airport, then to our state office,” Yakubu said.
On whether the commission’s decision has to do with the open partisanship displayed by Emefiele, Yakubu, who parried a direct response, said the electoral body was experimenting better ways to secure the materials.
He said, “We are experimenting better ways to secure the processes, so it is not necessarily related to what is happening in the CBN. Our intention is to always improve and take complete ownership of the process.”
The INEC boss also said the commission had responded to the demands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by furnishing the anti-graft agency with the bank accounts and other financial details of political parties.
The EFCC had launched a discreet investigation into the finances of the 18 registered political parties in the country and their presidential aspirants following the humongous fees paid for expression of interest and nomination forms by aspirants vying for various elective offices.
Yakubu also assured that the 430million ballot papers to be used in the 2023 elections would be printed in Nigeria. He said the preference of the commission had always been to print the sensitive materials within the country.