Yakubu: INEC is Ready for Edo’s Guber Election in Sept. Despite Damage to Facility

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Yakubu: INEC is Ready for Edo’s Guber Election in Sept. Despite Damage to Facility

CHIGOZIE AMADI

The National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has promised that the commission would conduct a credible governorship election in Edo State, despite its facility that was recently destroyed during last Friday’s downpour.
In a related development, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has released the updated list of its members on the Edo State Governorship Election National Campaign Council, largely populated by governors.

However, Yakubu said since the Edo election was an off-cycle election, the Commission would also borrow equipment from neighbouring states to esure a hitch-free exercise.
Yakubu stated this while inspecting the level of damage to the commission’s facilities in Benin-City and to monitor the level of compliance with the on-going Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) and collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC).

The INEC boss, who was accompanied on the visit by three National Directors in charge of Voter Registration, Estate, Works Transport and ICT; the State Controller of Works, Federal Ministry of Works that would carry out needed construction work on the facilities, and other senior personnel of the Commission from the National Headquarter, ruled out changing location because of the perennial flooding in the area.
He said the commission was prepared for the election in Edo State and the next one is Ondo State where he said the CVR would commence very soon.
“Our visit here is to ensure that we fix whatever we need to fix before 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 on Friday last week.

“So, there is no immediate plan to relocate. We believe from what is here we can fix them before the election and it is better actually that we conduct the election in our own facilities rather than going to rent any facilityoutside close to election.
“Before the last governorship election in Edo, we took measures and for three years. Since the last governorship election, we have had no issues but this is an act of God.”

On whether he could quantify the cost of damage in the facility, Yakubu said, “It is very difficult to quantify now, we are on the assessment that is why in this tour we have been joined by three critical directors responsible for Voter Registration and our Estate, Works and Transport at the headquarters and our Director of ICT so they will stay behind, do the assessment and advice the Commission.”
Assuring the people that despite the setbacks, the commission was ready for the election, Yakubu declared: “Let me use this opportunity to assure and reassure Edo voters that it is unfortunate that this thing happened in our office on Friday.

“We took a proactive measure to ensure that the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) was not affected by calling for additional resources from the neighbouring states and whatever it takes, since INEC is one national body and we are only going to have two elections in Edo and Ondo States.
“I will call for additional resources where it is necessary from neighbouring states and the elections will proceed as scheduled and we will recover from this unfortunate incident.”

On whether the 10 days for the CVR would be extended as being agitated in some quarters, the INEC boss said, “We have not reached there yet. We will go round and see what happened.
“We are encouraged by the turnout not only of fresh registrants, that is persons who are registered voters or who are not of age when the last registration exercise was done but also by those who are applying for transfers, relocation and the replacement of PVCs. When we get to the bridge, we will cross it.”
Meanwhile, the PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said the updated list by the NWC was pursuant to its commitment to ensure victory for the party in the election scheduled for September 21.

The chairman of the PDP campaign council, according to the statement, is Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri; Delta State Governor Sheriff Oborevwori is Deputy Chairman; and Taraba State Governor, Kefas Agbu, is Deputy Chairman.
Other members of the council are former Vice Presidents Atiku Abubakar and Namadi Sambo; BoT Chairman, Adolphus Wabara; and governors elected on the platform of the PDP.
The inauguration of the 144 members of the council, according to the statement, is scheduled to hold at the PDP National Secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday, June 4.