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Damage to Edo INEC office won’t affect gov poll, says Yakubu

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Thursday, assured the people of Edo State that the state governorship election slated for September 21 will go ahead despite the damage to the commission’s office in the state.

A downpour in Edo which led to flooding last Friday destroyed the INEC building, the enrollment machines for the Continuous Voters Registration, and the ICT Department while vehicles were also submerged.

To ensure that the CVR commenced in the 192 wards in the state on Monday, the commission secured enrollment machines from Delta and Bayelsa states, while also relocating to the Ikpoba Okha office of the commission.

While noting that the affected infrastructure would be repaired or replaced, he said the commission would also borrow equipment from neighboring states to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

INEC chairman who stated while inspecting the level of damage to the office, was also on hand to monitor the level of compliance with ongoing CVR and collection of Permanent Voters Cards.

Accompanied by senior personnel of the commission from the national headquarters and the state, the INEC boss said the commission was prepared for the election in Edo and Ondo states where he said the CVR would commence very soon.

He said, “Our visit here is to ensure that we fix whatever we need to fix because of the election. We have three months and three weeks to the election and that is why we came here to inspect what happened to our facility last week Friday, so there is no immediate plan to relocate.

“We believe we can fix the damage before the election and it is better to conduct the election in our own facilities rather than going to rent any facility outside.

“Before the last governorship election in Edo, we took measures to deliver a good election and for three years since the last governorship election, we have had no issues but this is an act of God.”

When asked if he could quantify the cost of damage done to the facility, Yakubu said, “It is very difficult to quantify now. Three critical Directors responsible for the voters registry, our estate, works and transport and ICT will stay behind, do the assessment, and advise the commission.

“Let me use this opportunity to assure and reassure Edo voters that we will proceed as scheduled and we will recover from this unfortunate incident. The elections in Edo and Ondo are off-cycle, so we will deploy equipment from neighbouring states if need be, and the elections will proceed.”

The INEC chairman, however, said that he could not say if the 10 days for the CVR would be extended as being agitated in some quarters, noting the commission would decide what to do when it gets to that point.

Earlier, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Anugbum Onuoha, said the flood could be termed a blessing in disguise as it has better prepared them for the election.

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