The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained how the commission would replace the 5,141 card readers that were destroyed by fire at the commission’s head office in Akure, Ondo State capital, on Thursday.
The spokesperson for INEC, Festus Okoye, told PREMIUM TIMES Friday in a telephone interview that the incident would not affect the October 10 governorship election.
Fire gutted the container that contained smart card readers around 7:30 p.m. at the commission’s office in Akure.
While Mr Okoye who is in Ondo State alongside other staff, arrived at the scene early enough, the office of the fire service close to the INEC headquarters could not help due to lack of water to put out the inferno early enough, this newspaper reported earlier.
The INEC spokesperson who had earlier confirmed to our correspondent that 5,141 card readers were burnt, later explained how they will be replaced before October 10.
“The burnt card readers cannot affect the election. 4,141 belongs to the Ondo State INEC office while the remaining 1,000 were brought from Osun,” he said.
“Since it is one month to the election, we will just take smart card readers from other states to replace the burnt one so that the election won’t be affected. So, rest assured that it will not affect the conduct of the election,” he said.
This is at least the third time that an INEC office would be engulfed in fire in 2020.
Similar fires were recorded in February in Imo and Anambra States.
Also in April, fire gutted the Abuja headquarters of INEC and affected the office of the commission’s Director of Voter Registry, Emmanuel Akem.
There are 17 political parties with different candidates contesting in the upcoming election in Ondo State.