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Flood: INEC vows to replace all damaged facilities before Edo guber polls

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Ignatius Okorocha, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Nigerians that it would replace all facilities damaged by flood in its Edo headquarters office, affirming that the incident not affect the Sept. 24 governorship election in the state as scheduled.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave the assurance on Thursday in Benin, when he visited the state for on the spot assessment of the impacts of the Friday flood on the state office.

Yakubu also assured Edo people that in spite the setback caused by the flood, INEC would continue with the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in the state.

“We are here basically to see for ourselves what happened to our facilities following the unexpected torrential rainfall and the flooding that occurred. Equally importantly for us to come and meet with you who are the staff in the Edo office.

“We thank God no life was lost. We thank God no injuries. But we want to assure you that in spite of the extensive damage we have recovered to do the continuous voter registration exercise and we will recover to conduct the governorship election in September.

“We have three months and three weeks to the election today. So whatever we have lost in terms of critical equipment, whatever support facilities we need to replace, whatever office furniture and facilities we need to replace, we will do so,” he said.

He said the commission would salvage some of the equipment that can be reclaimed, then mobilised resources from neighbouring states to replace the shortfalls for the successful conduct of the state election.

Yakubu who was accompanied by some INEC national commissioners; Federal Controller, Federal Ministry of Works in Edo, Hassan Babatunde, said he came with a team that would help to assess the level of loss to the flood and way forward.

“We are also accompanied by the director of ICT because of what happened to some of the critical facilities for the election.

“Whatever we need for the forthcoming Edo governorship election we will make sure that we provide these facilities.

“Fortunately for us this is an off-cycle election so we can rely on our resources from the neighboring states for the election.

“It is only in a general election that each state office must be self-sufficient but here we will call for additional resources from the neighboring states to ensure that there are no issues with the election.

“The present commission has a lot of experience in handling the Edo governorship election. For me personally this is going to be my third governorship election in Edo.

“We conducted the 2016 election. We conducted the September 2020 election and by God’s grace we are approaching the September 2024 election. So the CVR which is ongoing will not be affected.

“Whatever issues and challenges there, we will listen to the REC and its team and we will continue to respond.

“So, let me reassure Edo voters that the CRV will continue in spite of the slight setback we have experienced and that the preparation for the governorship election is also going to continue,” Yakubu said.

speaking in an interview with newsmen after the meeting with INEC staff, Yakubu said at the moment the commission was not making plan to relocate the state office but to find permanent solutions to the flood change.

Yakubu also expressed the commission’s commitment to staff welfare and a decent working environment for your workers in Edo and all INEC offices across the country.

In his remarks, the Edo Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Dr Anugbum Onuoha, commended the proactive response of the commission to the May 24 flood.

Onuoha pledged that the commitment of the Edo staff to credible and successful election in spite the Friday flood incident.

“We had an incident that happened on the 24th of this month, and when I reported the matter to you, you took a proactive action that led to the location of the registration center here to our office in Ikpoba Okaha. That helped us.

“That decision and the position of the commission helped us. Many people were thinking that the registration exercise would not continue, but the glory of God, we are of course, we cannot afford to fail the commission.

“All the assurance we are giving you here is that the mandate and the vision of the commission will be maintained in Edo,” Onuoha said.

Some of the damage facilities includes Bimodal Voter Accreditation Machines (BVAS), vehicles, photocopier and printing machines, office equipment, the office fence and infrastructure.

 

Yakubu later visited some of the registration centres in the ongoing CVR in the state. He also had a meeting with the state commissioner of Police

The national commissioners on the assessment tour include Abubakar Alkali, Sam Olumekun, May Agbamuche-Mbu, and Rhoda Gumus.

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