The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu has said that the Ondo State governorship election would hold as scheduled notwithstanding the fire incident at its head office in Ondo State.
Yakubu stated this on Friday during an interactive session with stakeholders and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), convened by the National Peace Committee (NPC).
There were concerns over the possibility of INEC still holding the election in Ondo State on October 10, as slated, after fire gutted over 500 card readers during the Thursday fire incident at its head office in the state.
But speaking at the NPC event Yakubu said: ”We received the sad news last night of the fire incident involving the container housing the Smart Card Readers.
“Let me give you a little bit of statistics, we require 4100 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 1000 Card Readers from our office in Osun State.
“So we had 5100 Smart Card Readers good to go for the Ondo election but unfortunately from the reports am getting, we lost the 5100 Smart Card Readers in that container.
“Will that affect the election? I am glad to say that we have recovered from that and election in Ondo is going to go ahead, 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 5000 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.
“We have recovered in Ondo, while investigation continues in the cause of the fire. The Ondo election will not be affected by what happened to the Smart Card Readers. The fire only affected the container housing the Smart Card Readers. It was the same container that was used in 2015, 2016 and 2019, so it is not that we moved the Smart Card Readers to an unsafe place.
“But learning from what happened in Ondo, we are also taking measures to ensure that there is no repeat of this kind of incident in Edo State.”
Yakubu also assured that the Edo State governorship election was still going to hold on September 19 as scheduled.
Speaking also at the event, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who was represented by Leke Oyebode, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Research and Documentation and in charge of Edo election, assured that police officers deployed for the election would be guided by the Police Code of Conduct.
A member of the NPC and Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Kukah speaking said that the meeting was put together by the chairman of the NPC and former Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar.
He said the essence was to encourage the various agencies, especially INEC and to help inspire confidence.
“You have been adequately briefed on the level of preparedness, the rest is for us Nigerians to do the thing we do best, which is to pray and then we also hope that the people of Edo State will enjoy a very peaceful election, the rest we leave into the hands of God,” Kukah said.
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