The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has replaced and reconfigured the 198 Smart Card Readers that were on Friday burnt in its office in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chair, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja said that in spite of the incident, polls in the state would proceed as scheduled.
Okoye said that the commission witnessed a fire incident its office, which occured in the early hours of Friday.
He said that several sensitive and non-sensitive materials for Saturday‘s Governorship and State House of Assembly elections were destroyed including 198 Smart Card Readers, the printed Register of Voters, 13 generating sets as well as several Voting Cubicles and office equipment were destroyed by the fire.
“Fortunately, the ballot papers and result sheets for the elections were not affected and are intact.
“Acting on time, the Commission has been able to replace and reconfigure all the destroyed Smart Card Readers and reprinted the Register of Voters.
“With the replacement and the salvage of other items, we are pleased to announce that the election will proceed as scheduled.
“All registered voters in the Local Government Area are therefore requested to turn up to cast their votes between 8a.m and 2p.m tomorrow.”
Okoye said that though the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained, a report had been made to the law enforcement agencies and the Fire Service.
“We are liasing closely with both agencies to investigate and ascertain the cause of the fire and if found to be a delibrate act, we will ensure diligent and vigorous prosecution of those responsible.”
The commission according to Okoye also postponed the Nassarawo Binyeri State Constituency of Mayo Belwa LGA, in the Adamawa State House of Assembly to March 23.
Okoye said this was as a result of thevdeath of one of the candidates, Adamu Kwanate, participating in the election earlier scheduled for Saturday. March 9.
“Furthermore, the Commission has been informed of the death of Hon. Adamu Kwanate, who until his death was the member representing Nassarawo Binyeri State Constituency (Mayo Belwa LGA) in the Adamawa State House of Assembly.
“He was also the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the same Constituency in the election scheduled for Saturday March 9.
“Consequently, INEC is compelled to reschedule the Nassarawo Binyeri State Constituency election for tomorrow and the same has been rescheduled to Saturday March 23, in line with Section 36(1) of the Electoral Act (2010) as amended.
“The Governorship election in the constituency and all other state constituency elections will, however, proceed as scheduled tomorrow.”