* INEC to open situation room to observers

Information available to Tribune, Not TheNigerialawyer has revealed why the Independent National Electoral Commission has refused to remove it’s National Commissioner in charge of Welfare, Mrs Amina Zakari from being the head of the Collation Centre Committee.

According to an impeccable source close to the Commission, the Zakari had earlier been moved from a standing committee in charge of Logistics to the Welfare and Health Committee.

The source explained the situation thus: “That movement appeared to be in response to widespread protests among stakeholders. But there are no issues of integrity and misdeeds.

“They are just issues of perception and you know sometimes perception can be larger than life.

“Having moved from the initial position, the protests came up again when she was named the Chairman of Collation Centre, the thinking now is that since there are no questions about her capacity or integrity to serve, the Commission cannot keep moving her.

“If we keep moving her at the slightest excuse, it will get to a point when some people will call for the removal of INEC chairman.

“In any case, there are 15 Committees in INEC and the Collation Centre Committee is just an ad hoc committee. It is even different from the Collation Secretariat which the INEC chairman heads and which is responsible for results collation. Remember the INEC Chairman is the Chief Electoral Officer and the Returning Officer for the Presidential election.”

The source also revealed that the commission has agreed to throw open the processes that would take place at the Situation Room during the 2019 elections to enhance the integrity of the election.

Opening up of the Situation Room has been a key demand of opposition parties and election Monitors, especially from Western countries in the build-up to the 2019 elections.

But the source who spoke on condition of anonymity said since he was not permitted to speak officially on the matter said that the Commission was out to show it has nothing to hide.

“I can tell you that the Commission has decided to throw open the operations of the Situation Room during the 2019 elections. The management team has decided that will show the international and local observers, the media and the political parties that there is nothing special that happens there.

“The international observers, the parties and the media have written severally seeking the opening up of the Sitauoon Room. With the information at my disposal, I can confirm that the Commission has decided to give access to relevant stakeholders at the Situation Room during the elections.

“The Commission will grant access to groups and those accredited to go in and out of the Situation Room.”

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