The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reacted to the reports of ballot papers found in the possession of some people ahead of the general elections.

INEC Director of Voter Education, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, told Channels Television that there was nothing wrong with that, provided they were specimens.

“Yes! we did give political parties a specimen of the ballot paper,” he said during his appearance on The Verdict. “There is nothing wrong with having specimen ballot papers in your possession.”

The INEC director added, “In terms of getting people out, teaching them how to vote correctly such that their ballots are not invalid.

“We even supported the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) which is an umbrella body for all political association of all political parties registered in Nigeria.”

Commenting on the arrest of two persons with ballot papers by the police in Kano State, Mr Osaze-Uzzi noted that the case was subject to an investigation.

He stressed that INEC was waiting for the police to conclude their investigation into the case since they had already confirmed that the ballot papers found were specimens.

The INEC official explained that a specimen is quite different from the original ballot paper as it does not have the security features contained in the real one.

Asked why political parties were given specimen of ballot papers, he said, “They were given specimen so that they will use it to demonstrate how you cast your vote, how you fold the paper, and how you do everything else.”

“I have seen so many (instances) where the political parties themselves, rather than give the blank one that we gave, now put the fingerprint on their logo. They are allowed to do that,” Osaze-Uzzi stated.

He added, “If they try to forge it and look for a surreptitious way to get it on election day into the scheme of things, then that is a crime.

“But for them to replicate it for voter education purpose and put specimen on top of it, there is nothing wrong with that.”

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