APC Calls for Cancellation of CVR in Edo

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city

Ahead of the September 21 governorship election in Edo State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has called for the cancellation of the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to begin in the state today.

In a statement issued by the state Chairman of the party, Jarret Tenebe, yesterday he said the APC made the call due to the damage to INEC secretariat, materials and equipment meant for CVR.

Tenebe said: “We are calling for the cancellation of the CVR exercise expected to begin on Monday in Edo State due to the extensive damage to the INEC premises.

“INEC in Edo State, has officially alerted the public of the unprecedented damage inflicted upon its facilities and equipment, especially the INEC Voter enrolment device as a result of heavy rainfall last Friday night, when a torrential downpour hit Benin-city, resulting in severe flooding and damage to the commission’s perimeter fence with the resultant submerging of sensitive materials in floodwater.

“The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Edo State, Dr. Anugbum Onuoha, has rightfully acknowledged that the INEC state headquarters has suffered significant damage to its functionality as a result of the flood. The commission, therefore, cannot pretend to be determined to ensure that the CVR exercise proceeds as scheduled. This is unacceptable to us as an interested party.

“We reject the planned use of the Ikpoba Okha INEC LGA office located at 16 Customs Road, off Benin/Auchi Road, Benin City as temporary ‘State Headquarters’ for the commission so that the CVR can go on.

“We also condemn the plan of bringing in additional machines from neighboring states, including Delta and Bayelsa. These are all premeditated and only confirms our earlier position that senior PDP chieftain  has hired his wife who is a director in INEC’s Bayelsa ICT office to pre-fill names in the data capturing machine.

“In the existing circumstances, we believe the wise option for INEC is the immediate cancellation of the CVR exercise and prioritise the safety and well-being of its staff and the public more than anything else.

“Also, INEC must address the aftermath of the flooding squarely and restore its operations to full functionality before resuming any electoral activities. This is our demand.”

But in a swift reaction, the Deputy Director-General of Media and Publicity of the PDP Campaign Council, Mr. Olu Martin, said that the APC does not have the power to decide for INEC.

Martins in a statement issued in Benin-city said: “Can you be crying more than the bereaved? The INEC that should complain says it has the capacity to carry out the exercise. The world has also gone digital, and in a digital space, there is always a backup.

“So for INEC not to be prepared for any eventuality of this nature means that they are incompetent. But INEC has said that they have the capacity to conduct the exercise despite the destruction to their office and equipment.

“INEC has said that they can operate from Ikpoba Okha LGA, so it is still the head of INEC is that will serve as the head office.

“APC is crying more that the bereaved. For me, it is a defeatist mentality, and they are just trying to move away from the issue. And the issue is that there is no issue. The APC should realise that INEC is independent and they know how to carry out their functions.” 

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