The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disclosed, in Abuja yesterday, that the October 10 gubernatorial election in Ondo State would go ahead as planned despite the fire incident that burned its Card Readers meant for the election.
National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated that the Edo and Ondo states’ elections would go as planned, during an interactive session with stakeholders and Civil Society Organisations, convened by the National Peace Committee in Abuja on Friday.
Yakubu observed that the 5,100 Card Readers programmed for use for the election were razed in the inferno that broke out on Thursday night, adding that investigation was on to unravel the cause of the fire.
He said: “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 4,100 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 1,000 Card Readers from our office in Osun State.
“So, we had 5,100 Smart Card Readers and we were good to go for the Ondo election but, unfortunately, from the reports I’m getting, we lost the 5,100 Smart Card Readers in that container.”
He stressed that the commission had recovered from the incident, adding that he was glad to say the Ondo election would go ahead as planned.
“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 5,000 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,” Yakubu explained.
He further stated that the fire only affected the container housing the Smart Card Readers, noting that 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.”
The INEC boss also stated that the commission was ready for the Edo State poll and that it would not be postponed.