…Begs thieves to return 46 others There was confusion in Bayelsa State ahead of the forthcoming election on Saturday following the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to retrieve all the 69 missing card readers. The commission declared 69 card readers missing shortly after conducting the Presidential and National Assembly elections and begged persons in their possession to return them. But it was gathered that out of the missing number 23 were returned by unknown persons while 46 were still with unknown politicians. Some politicians were unhappy at the development raising fears that without retrieving all the stolen card readers, the electoral process would be compromised. They were also unhappy at the inability of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Monday Udoh to give full disclosures of the circumstances that led to disappearance of the card readers and the identities of persons who returned the first 23. But Udoh said Thursday in Yenagoa that he had declared a two-day amnesty to persons withholding the readers. Speaking during the stakeholders’ meeting with leaders of political parties, the REC explained that out of the 24 missing card readers in Nembe Local Government area, only 14 were recovered. He said in Sagbama out of eight, three had been recovered, Southern Ijaw out of 24 only two were returned while in Yenagoa out of six, only three had been retrieved. Udoh commended the Civil Liberty Organisation (CLO), religious leaders, community chiefs, youths, women groups and other stakeholders for persuading the card reader thieves to return them. He said that INEC would continue to perform its roles as an unbiased umpire in elections conducted in the state. The REC also urged the people in the state to forego incidents of the past elections and eschew violence for a better election in the state. He said that election was not a war but a process for leaders to emerge and queried: “If those you are to lead are all dead what is the gain?’ “Election is not war. Where there is peace you find progress and development. So by the time you kill those you are to lead what is the gain and who will you lead? ”Let us all allow peace to reign in the state, before, during and after the elections. 85 per cent of the sensitive materials are already in the Central Bank and we cross-checked them with all party agents to show we are transparent”, he said. Also speaking, the Administrative Secretary of the commission, Mr. Nduh Sampson, said it was time to allow the people own the electioneering process, adding that the process required a collective and collaborative work. He also said that everyone must come together to be part of the history to change the narrative of violence to a peaceful and transparent election in the state.]]>

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