EdoDecides2020: Obaseki, INEC in war of words

No one was disenfranchised --- Okoye

Edo State governor and People’s Democratic Party candidate, Godwin Obaseki has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of shoddy preparations for the governorship election.

Governor Obaseki who spoke with newsmen shortly after exercising his franchise at Oredo Ward 4 Polling Unit, located inside Emokpai Model Primary School, Benin City, declared that INEC handling of the process fell short of expectations.

He maintained that the Card Readers were malfunctioning at his ward and across senatorial districts in the State.

He said: “One would have expected that there should have been better preparations for this election, the process is very slow.

“I spent one half and a half hours on the queue before exercising my franchise. The Card Reader is very slow and it is the situation across the state, not only in Oredo.

“One would have expected INEC to deploy Card Readers to voting centres, especially in high-density polling centres. I expected an improvement considering our experience with the same Card Readers during the last general elections.”

He was however countered by Barrister Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee.

Speaking with Tribune Online in a telephone interview, Barrister Okoye admitted that there were incidents of malfunctioning of the Card Readers but noted that the Commission Registration Areas Technical Assistants quickly responded to rectify the errors and ensured that prospective voters were allowed to cast their ballot.

He maintained that the Commission made adequate preparations for the election in terms of logistics.

He said:” All the Polling Units, over 95 per cent opened before 11 am and we are happy with the situation.

“Yes, we received reports of malfunctioning of Card Readers in very few Polling Units across the 18 Local Government Areas.

“In all the places where the Card Readers malfunctioned, our Registration Areas Technical Assistance rectified the fault immediately.

“So, we don’t have any report that any voter was disenfranchised as a result of Card Reader malfunctioning.

“At the end of the day, we shall do a post mortem of what happened at Edo elections.”

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