By Jethro Ibileke
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Edo State, has tendered apology to the residents of the state, especially those who turned 18 this year, for not being able to participate in the September 19 governorship election in the state.
INEC’s head of voters education and publicity in the state, Tmidi Wariowei, tendered the apology on behalf of the Commission at an interactive session with civil society organizations, put together by the Centre for Democracy and Development, (CDD).
He said the decision to disenfranchised them was to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, and not to deliberate undermine them, asking them to bear with the electoral umpire.
“Because of Covid-19, the Commission was not able to conduct what we called continuous voters registration.
“We had already made preparations, memos were raised on at least three weeks or four weeks for voters registration to capture those people that didn’t register in the last exercise and also those who have turned 18.
“But because of Covid-19, the Commission sat down and took a second look at that and came up with the conclusion that it is not possible to go on to conduct the continuous voters registration and the distribution of voter’s cards.
“The idea is that we have a constitutional duty to perform, which is the governorship election, to because if we don’t conduct the governorship election, there is going to be a constitutional crisis.
“A whole lot of people raised eyebrows because of this and we agreed with them because it is a way of disenfranchising so many people, especially those that turned 18 in the last exercise.
“So we really sympathise with them and we also want to let the people know that we are doing this in the interest of the Edo people because in every time we are doing election, we give out time two, three weeks to conduct Voters Registration.
“So, it is not done to undermine the people of Edo but it was clearly because of Covid19,” he explained.
Speaking on the essence of the event, the Senior Programme Officer, Centre for Democracy and Development, Mr. Austine Aigbe, said as the Edo State governorship election draws near, is important for the actors in the election to speak peace and embrace peace before and after the election in the state.