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Olasunkanmi Akinlotan & Faruq Kushoro
I am not hiding anything – Ogun REC
There was drama on Tuesday at the central bank of Nigeria when journalists were shut out of the mother bank facility where sensitive materials retrieved from local governments in the state where said to be cross-checked by observers and covered by journalists were said to be kept.
On Monday, rumour emerged that some ballot papers have been secretly taken by an electoral officer (name withheld) which has sparked reactions and counter-reactions from different quarters.
This development has made the Chairman of the inter-party advisory Committee in Ogun state, Com. Abayomi Arabambi among other politicians to vow of cross-checking the election materials whenever it is returned to the CBN after the election postponement.
The sensitive materials are expected to be returned to the CBN on Wednesday morning but journalists were not allowed to cover the cross-checking exercise .
Journalists who were said to have been contacted by the commission to cover the cross-checking exercise and redistribution of electoral materials arrived the venue as early as 8 am this morning but weren’t allowed into the CBN facility in Oke Ilewo in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.
Addressing newsmen after several hours of waiting, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof Abdulganiyu Raji said he is only obeying the directive he got from the apex bank.
He further explained that it is the CBN authority who authorised the shutting out of journalists.
His word, “we have been here since 8 am, I had the Central bank of Nigeria, CBN officials have addressed you, the directive we received from the headquarter of central bank through its governor was that no pressmen should be allowed into their facility, you know it is a private facility.
“The last time we allow you in, but now they don’t want their vault to be covered, we are dispatching the materials local government by local government in the next one to two hours we shall start the process, we want to arrange it properly to ease the distribution.
“I am not hiding anything, you can see the security men, international observer, African Union, domestic observer, all political parties chairmen in the state are here, so we have nothing to cover just that we want to obey the directive of the CBN.
“If I want to cover anything, I won’t call on the press, I was told you were outside and I decide to talk to you”.
When asked if the commission is ready for this Saturday election, the resident commissioner said, the commission is fully ready for the election and claimed he never witnessed any delay in receiving the electoral materials.
“We are ready for this election, although some state received their materials late, for us in Ogun, we have no such case, we have received our materials at the appropriate time”.
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