By Lateef Ibrahim
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said the COVID-19 pandemic might disenfranchise many voters in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
Timidi Wariowei, INEC Head of Voters Education and Publicity, expressed this concern on Thursday in Benin, at a roundtable discussion on the 2020 Edo governorship election organised by Centre for Democracy and Development.
He lamented that the commission has not been able to carry out the continuous voters registration exercise, as well as the distribution of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) ahead of the election due to the pandemic.
He, however, assured voters that INEC was fully ready to conduct a credible poll, adding that preparation had begun for the exercise.
“The Coronavirus pandemic did not allow us to also carry out distribution of the PVCs.
“We do not want to be accused unnecessarily or seen to be undermining the people, but for their own protection,” he said.
Wariowei said in spite of the challenges, elections must be conducted in the state to avoid constitutional crisis.
He warned that voters must have face mask at the polling units to be allowed to vote.
“There must also be a distance of 2 metres or six feet between each voter on 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.”