The African Democratic Congress (ADC) has said that the fire incident that occurred at the head office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Thursday is an attempt to undermine the credibility of the forthcoming governorship election.
The party made this known in a statement by its spokesperson, Eniola Olurotimi, on Saturday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the fire, which was allegedly caused by an electricity surge, burnt no fewer than 5,141 card readers.
It also affected the ICT Unit of the commission. The office of the fire service close to the INEC headquarters could not help due to lack of water to put out the inferno early enough, this newspaper learned.
Earlier, INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, told PREMIUM TIMES that the incident would not affect the upcoming election.
He mentioned that the commission will bring more smart card readers from other states to replace the burnt ones.
But in its statement, ADC expressed displeasure over the incident.
“The ADC as a party considers this (fire incident) very dramatic and an act of arson. The ADC as a party condemns, in all ramifications, this barbaric act that is likely coming from the ruling party with the sole purpose of destabilising the process of a free, fair and credible governorship election.
“The fire incident is an attempt to undermine the credibility of the electioneering process and ADC request that the Federal Government must replace the damaged smart cards before 10th October 2020, this is because manual vote counting would be most unacceptable in the coming election.
“We hereby demand that INEC allow a just, free, fair and credible process in the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State and avoid being used by the ruling party,” the statement read.
PREMIUM TIMES on Friday reported that the two candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) Eyitayo Jegede and Agboola Ajayi respectively condemned the fire incident.
Meanwhile, the governor of the state, Rotimi Akeredolu, of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) pledged the state’s support for INEC.