By Favour Goodness
Following a week-long sit-at-home order declared by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ahead of the Nov. 6 Anambra state governorship election, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji has said the group fresh order may threaten its preparations for the poll.
Orji also said attacks on INEC facilities in the state on May 23 were a source of worry to the commission, especially as it strives to achieve huge success in the poll.
He also disclosed that the commission had so far recruited and mobilised about 25, 000 Ad hoc staff that would man the 5, 720 polling units in the state.
He spoke shortly after the opening ceremony of the Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) AMBER Zone Implementers Workshop held in the state.
“Our preparations are on course, even with all the challenges we are facing, such as the attacks on our state office on May 23rd and the Sit-At-Home order, which is eating into our preparations.
“But we are doing our best to ensure that we overcome these challenges and we can only urge the public to be law abiding in order to achieve the desired electoral success in the state,” he said.
Orji noted that the commission was already recruiting Ad hoc staff online and at the same time interacting with stakeholders. He expressed satisfaction at what they had achieved so far, in terms of human structure.
He said if the success continued without future interruptions of its activities, the commission would confidently be ready by Nov. 6 to conduct a free, fair and peaceful election.
Orji, however, dismissed claims by some stakeholders that the commission’s earlier decision to supply non- sensitive materials for the election from its Southeastern zonal store in Owerri, Imo, would jeopardise the smooth conduct of the poll.
He said the determination of the commission to bring all the needed materials for the poll down to Awka remained unshaken, pointing out that the damaged structures at the INEC headquarters were being restored.
“The sensitive materials will go to the Central Bank of Nigeria branch in Awka. But we are not talking about sensitive materials here. So there is no need for the alarm being raised.
“The commission is working according to plans to put all things in place by the end of this month.
“Election process is something that do not have room for mistakes. We make sure that in the process of preparing for election, all that are needed would be on ground”, he said.
He added that the commission had developed a system for monitoring activities closely, to make sure that all programmes and plans were well executed without failure.
Orji said as a mark of its seriousness for credible election, NEC officials reviewed what he called the Amber zone, three months before the election.
“The exercise will take us to the red zone, which is 11 days before the election day, and two days after the election, which is the most critical period in any election”, he said.