Controversy as SSS summons top INEC officials



The State Security Service (SSS) has summoned the senior official who
substantively heads the Independent National Electoral Commission’s
operations and logistics, Okechukwu Ibeanu, Premium Times reports.

The secret service may have moved to investigate the circumstances
that led to the postponement of Nigeria’s elections earlier scheduled
to hold last Saturday.

Ibeanu, a professor of political science, was asked to report at the
SSS office by 2:00 p.m., multiple sources close to INEC stated.

Apart from Ibeanu, others asked to appear before the SSS include Chidi
Nwafor, the Director of Information and Communication Technology
(ICT), Ken Ukeagu; Osaze Uzzi, the Director of Voter Education and
Publicity and Bimbo Oladunjoye, the Assistant Director of ICT.

 Although Ibeanu heads the commission’s operations and logistics
department, Premium Times learnt that a separate team appointed by the
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, handled the logistics for the election.

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Three months to the election, on November 6,  Yakubu announced the
setting up of an “advisory committee on logistics for the 2019 general
elections.”

The internal memorandum announcing the committee to INEC officials was
signed by Maryam Iya Musa, the Director, Commission Secretariat.

Ibeanu, who officially heads the INEC logistics department, was not
made a member of the committee.

“Curiously, close to the election, INEC chair created an ad hoc
committee on logistics for the 2019 elections which reported directly
to him.  Ibeanu is not a member of that committee,” said our source,
an INEC insider.

Another source close the INEC leadership said such committee was
unprecedented in INEC’s history.

“There was nothing like that under Jega (Attahiru, immediate past INEC
chairman). Nobody knows why Professor Yakubu decided to duplicate
functions and hand such a crucial task (logistics) to a committee when
there is a department to handle it,” the source said.

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The 15-member advisory committee is headed by another national
commissioner, Ahmed Mu’azu, a retired Air Vice Marshall.

Two other national commissioners of INEC – Abubakar Nahuche and
Mohammed Haruna – are also members of the committee. Other members
include representatives of the country’s military services and other
government institutions such as the Central Bank of Nigeria and the
Federal Road Safety Commission.

The committee was given four terms of reference: “advise the
commission on timely deployment of election logistics, proffer
solutions to logistics challenges, coordinate logistics support from
development partners and other agencies, and any other related
matters.”

Curiously, no member of the committee was invited by the SSS, raising
concerns the agency may not be aware of how INEC has operated or may
be deliberately going after the wrong person.

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INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye, could not be reached to comment on
this report. He did not answer calls placed to his phone and also did
not reply to a text message.

The spokesperson for the SSS, Peter Afunaya, when contacted simply
said: “I am not aware.”

The elections were called off by  Yakubu hours before the exercise was
due to open on Saturday. He blamed logistics difficulties for the
failure.

In a remark yesterday, Buhari vowed INEC will explain “what caused the
postponement” after the elections.

Also, the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adam
Oshiomhole, accused INEC of working in cahoots with the opposition
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He said the commission had divulged
the information of the postponement to the opposition much long before
the decision was eventually taken.



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