Edo/Ondo Elections: INEC Says Violence Will Complicate Nigeria’s Response to COVID-19 Health Emergency

Ahead of the Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections as well as the forthcoming 14 bye-elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has appealed to all parties and candidates, and all those involved in the elections to avoid violence.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who made this known Thursday, while briefing members of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on preparations for the conduct of Edo and Ondo governorship elections, noted that in the context of COVID-19, violence will not only disrupt the elections, but also complicate the nation’s response to the health emergency. 

Yakubu, noted that in the realm of planning, INEC has planned well, adding that the true test of the plan is the actual implementation. 

Speaking on the deployment of infrared thermometers recommended by the PTF to be used on Election Day, he disclosed that due to budgetary constraints, the commission only made provision for the deployment of thermometers at collation centers, which are fewer than the numerous polling units. 

According to him, “In Edo state, there are a total of 192 ward collation centers, 18 local government collation centers but the polling units are more numerous. We have almost 3,000 voting locations in Edo state. We simply don’t have the resources to buy the handheld thermometers and deploy them at polling units.

“Happily, PTF has supplied, initially 100 units of the thermometers which we deployes to Nasarawa state, and I am also glad to say that they have made available 3,000 thermometers to deploy to the polling units in Edo State. 

“I want to assure the PTF of the prudent use of these thermometers in Edo and we will move the same thermometers three weeks later to Ondo for the governorship election on the 10th of October, 2020”, he stated.

While speaking on what the Commission has done to ensure inclusivity, he said that INEC has produced its Policy On Conducting Elections In The Context Of The Covid-19 Pandemic in Braille for visually impaired voters, adding that the pages are blank, but the visually impaired can read the Braille guide. 

“We have also translated the 10-point Voters Code of Conduct into Braille for visually impaired voters. So, this is the same poster developed into a hand-bill and then we have developed it into a braille for the visually impaired voters on Election Day”, he disclosed. 

The INEC Chairman reassured the people of Edo and Ondo states of the Commission’s determination to conduct free, fair and transparent elections, adding, “Let us all work together to also ensure that the process is peaceful.”

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