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Burnt Card Readers won’t affect Ondo election, INEC assures

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By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has assured the Ondo State governorship poll will still go ahead as slated, despite the fire incident that burnt the Card Readers meant for the October 10 election.

INEC National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the 5100 Card Readers programmed for use for the election were razed in the inferno that broke out on Thursday night.

He said that investigation is on to unravel the cause of the fire.

The INEC Chair made the disclosure during an interactive session with stakeholders and Civil Society Organizations, convened by the National Peace Committee.

According to him,”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 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.

Read Also: Ondo INEC fire incident is plot to rig, say PDP, Jegede

“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.”

Meanwhile on whether the Edo State governorship election will still hold as scheduled, Yakubu, assured that the Commission is ready for the poll.

In his words, “yes 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 lection. 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 postponment of the election”.

The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, represented by Leke Oyebode, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Research and Documentation and in charge of Edo election, said that Police officers deployed for the election will be guided by the Police Code of Conduct.

According to him, “the Inspector General of Police has advised the officers and men deployed for the special assignment to abide by the Nigerian Police Code of Conduct. The Nigerian Police Force has a well articulated Code of Conduct to ensure that Police Officers do the needful during their assignment at the election duties”.

He assured that the Police is ready to ensure a peaceful election, adding that “nobody can stand on the way of this election”.

Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and member of the National Peace Committee, Hassan Kukah, said the meeting was convened by the Chairman of the National Peace Committee and former Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar, to encourage the various agencies, especially INEC and to help inspire confidence.

He said, “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.”

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