Despite the fire incident that burned its Card Readers meant for the October 10 gubernatorial election in Ondo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the election would go as planned.
During an interactive session with stakeholders and Civil Society Organisations, convened by the National Peace Committee in Abuja on Friday, INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated that the Edo and Ondo States’ elections would go as scheduled,
While revealing that investigation was on to unravel the cause of the fire, Yakubu disclosed that the 5,100 Card Readers programmed for use for the election were razed in the inferno that broke out on Thursday night,
We received the sad news last night of fire incident involving the container housing the Smart Card Readers.”
Let me give you a little bit of statistics; we require 4,100 Smart Card Readers for the Ondo election and additional 100 for training, so that the adhoc Staff are properly trained using the Smart Card Reader. So we got 1,000 Card Readers from our office in Osun State.
So, we had 5,100 Smart Card Readers and we were good to go for the Ondo election but, unfortunately, from the reports I’m getting, we lost the 5,100 Smart Card Readers in that container.
We have huge capacity in the neighbouring state to get additional Smart Card Readers and I had a discussion with the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Oyo State and we have 700 Smart Card Readers there. So, getting 5,000 Smart Card Readers to support Ondo won’t be an issue at all. This is not a general election that is holding nationwide, it is an off season election.
According to Yakubu, the fire only affected the container housing the Smart Card Readers, noting that it was the same container that was used in 2015, 2016 and 2019.
The INEC Chairman further stated that the commission was ready for the Edo State poll and that it would not be postponed.
He said also:
In September 2016, the Edo governorship election, for reasons known to Nigerians, was postponed for two weeks but it had nothing to do with the preparation of the Commission.
We know advice came for the postponment of the election. Is it going to happen again? Not as far as INEC preparations are concerned. We are ready and good to go. INEC is not contemplating postponement of the election.
Personally, I will be in Edo State tomorrow and will remain in Edo till Wednesday and I’m only leaving Edo on Wednesday to watch what happens on the Election Day from the situation room here in Abuja. There are numbers of activities, we will be supervising the preparation of the commission, we will be holding stakeholders’ meeting on Tuesday and on Wednesday is the signing of the peace accord under the auspices of the National Peace Committee.
So, as far as INEC is concerned, we are ready and not even contemplating the postponement of the Edo election.