The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Thursday the COVID-19 pandemic might disenfranchise many voters in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
The INEC Head of Voters Education and Publicity, Mr. Timidi Wariowei, who stated this at a roundtable on the 2020 Edo governorship election organised by Centre for Democracy and Development in Benin, added that the commission had not been able to carry out the continuous voters’ registration exercise and distribution of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) ahead of the election.
He, however, assured the electorate that INEC was fully ready to conduct a credible poll in Edo.
Wariowei noted that preparation had begun for the exercise while the issue of fund was never a problem.
The INEC official said: “The need to protect the people against the pandemic is placed above other interests.
Wariowei added: “The continuous voter’s registration would have taken care of those that have attained the age of 18 years after the last exercise and those that were unable to register for one reason or the other during the exercise.
“The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t allow us to also carry out the distribution of the PVCs.
“We do not want to be accused unnecessarily or seen to be undermining the people, but for their own protection.”
He said NCDC guidelines had been mainstreamed into the guidelines’ provided by the commission for the conduct of the governorship election.
“Every voter at the polling units must wear a face mask, if you don’t have face mask, you must at least have something to cover your nose and mouth to be allowed to vote.
“There must also be a distance of two metres or six feet between each voter on the queue at the polling units.
“We will also be providing alcohol-based disinfectants to be used to disinfect the card reader after every accreditation during the poll.”
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