By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC yesterday said many eligible voters in Edo state would not be able to vote in the September 19th election because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that has made impossible for the Commission to carry out continuous voters registration and collection of permanent voters cards (PVC).
The Commission’s head of Voters’ Education, Mr. Timidi Wariowei made this disclosure in Benin City yesterday at a Civil Society Organisation Roundtable on the 2020 Governorship Election in Edo.
The programme was organised by Centre for Democracy and Development where Wariowei spoke on, “Governorship Election in Edo: Issues at Stake and their Implications on the Conduct of Credible Election ” said INEC was ready for the conduct of the poll. He however said the Commission was prepared for the election.
He said: “The continuous voter registration would have taken care of those that have attained the age of 18 years after the last exercise and those that we’re unable to register for one reason or the other during the exercise.
“The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t allow us to also carry out the distribution of the PVC.
“We do not want to be accused unnecessarily or seem to be undermining the people, but for their protection,” he said.
Wariowei said despite these challenges, elections must be conducted in the state to avoid a constitutional crisis.
He said the poll would be conducted in a way to avoid mass contact of the disease.
According to him, “NCDC guidelines have been mainstreamed into the guidelines provided by the commission for the conduct of the governorship election.
“Every voter at the polling units must wear a face mask, if you don’t have a face mask, you must at least have something to cover your nose and mouth to be allowed to vote.
“There must also be a distance of 2 meters or 6 feet between each voter on the queue at the polling units. We will also be providing alcohol-based disinfectants to be used to disinfect the card reader after every accreditation during the poll.”
While disclosing that 14 political parties met with the deadline for the submission of their candidates, he said some training has since commenced for some officers that would participate in the conduct of the election.
He said training for Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) and Collation Officers (COs) would be the last to be done a week before the poll.