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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

2019 General Elections: 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 that this is an indication 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.

The online newspaper reports that, Mr Ibeanu, a professor of political science, was asked to report at the SSS office by 2:00 p.m.

Apart from Mr 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 Mr Ibeanu heads the commission’s operations and logistics department, reports say a separate team appointed by the INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, handled the logistics for the election.

Three months to the election, on November 6, Mr 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.

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

A reliable source in INEC was quoted as corroborating the claim; “Curiously, close to the election, INEC chair created an ad hoc committee on logistics for the 2019 elections which reported directly to him. Prof Ibeanu is not a member of that committee,” the source said.

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

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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