Baring last minute change, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Thursday, January 6, 2011 for the conduct of Delta State governorship rerun elections.
Though official confirmation was being awaited last night as at press time, reliable sources at INEC confirmed that the INEC leadership decided to conduct the election to be able to concentrate on the nationwide voter registration which has been slated to run from January 15, 2011.
INEC, it was gathered, had contemplated holding the election on January 8, but decided in favour of January 6 so that attention could be focused on the vital voter registration exercise.
By this development, it means the much criticised old voters’ register would be used for the election.
A source said, “many other officials in INEC are aware that the chairman consistently stated that he will prefer that the Delta State governorship election is done before we begin the voter registration exercise. The likely decision that INEC management appears close to taking now is the choice of January 6.”
The resident electoral commissioner in Delta State has been directed to make a state broadcast on the preparations of the state INEC for the election and what is expected of the people before, during and after the election.
The INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information, Prince Solomon Shoyebi, was expected to issue formal statement on the preparation and arrangement by INEC for the election.
When contacted, INEC Director of Public Affairs, Emmanuel Umenger said he had prepared a statement to this effect but was waiting for the vetting and approval from the commission’s secretary.
Just last Monday, the INEC National Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega had expressed fear over electoral insecurity drawing his fear partly from the theft of the Direct Data Capture (DDC) Machines at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
Jega had, while speaking on the huge security challenge during the elections at an inter-agency security meeting in Abuja pointed out that while the deployment and retrieval of both personnel and materials for the voter registration exercise posed a great security challenge, the rerun election in Delta equally harboured serious security challenge.
“Apart from the safe deployment of such a huge array of humans and materials, retrieving the equipment safely and securing our personnel during the exercise will also pose far reaching challenges. At the same time, the commission has to conduct the rerun governorship election in Delta State, which on its own poses a huge security challenge.”
The Election Petition Appeal Tribunal had last November 9 nullified the election of Emmanuel Uduaghan as the governor of the state.
The decision followed an appeal brought by Mr. Great Ogboru against Governor Uduaghan, who had governed the state since 2007. The election petition earlier dismissed the petition brought by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Okocha, where he sought the nullification of Uduaghan’s election because of his exclusion from the 2007 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).