The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has insured all its staff and the 20,974 ad hoc staff that will be deployed for the September 19 governorship election in Edo State against death and election hazards.

INEC also said a comprehensive insurance has been put in place for all its staff members that would be deployed to Ondo for the October 10 governorship election in the state.

This was revealed by Festus Okoye, the commission’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee an in interview with The Punch on Saturday, September 12, 2020.

Due to the fear that the forthcoming elections in Edo state may be marred by violence, the commission, security agencies, prominent individuals and organisations to sue for peace over the election in which over 14 political parties participate.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu. (Punch)
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu. (Punch)

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been cancelling and accusing each other of planning to foment trouble during the election.

To stem the tide of politically motivated violence in the state, the Oba of Benin, Oba Eheneden Erediauwa Ewuare II , had on Wednesday, September 2, cautioned the candidates of the two major parties, Governor Godwin Obaseki of the PDP and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC in a meeting stakeholders at his palace.

The monarch described the politicians’ utterances and activities during the electioneering as immature.

Oba of Benin, Eheneden Erediauwa Ewuare II has advised political candidates in Edo ahead of governorship election in the state. [guardian]
Oba of Benin, Eheneden Erediauwa Ewuare II has advised political candidates in Edo ahead of governorship election in the state. [guardian]

It’s against this background that the INEC assured its staff members of its commitment to their safety in the forthcoming election.

ALSO READ: You won't be governor forever, Oba of Benin tells Obaseki

Speaking on the insurance plan for its personnel, INEC’s national commissioner said, “All the ad hoc staff engaged by the commission for the purposes of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections will be covered by insurance and it’s a comprehensive insurance covering deaths, accidents and other election hazards. It’s a group insurance that covers every individual given a contract by the commission as ad hoc staff. The staff of the commission are already covered and there is no need to cover them a second time.”

Osagie Ize-Iyamu (left) and Godwin Obaseki (right) [Vanguard]
Osagie Ize-Iyamu (left) and Godwin Obaseki (right) [Vanguard]

According to ThePunch, Okoye said most of the ad hoc staff comprising corps members and students of federal tertiary institutions had been trained, except for Collation Officers who are usually trained three to four days to the election.

He said, “The commission will deploy a total of 20,974 election officials in Edo State. We have 18 Local Government Areas in Edo State, so there will be 18 Local Government Collation Officers; 192 Registration Area Collation Officers, 263 Supervisory Presiding Officers and 2,627 Presiding Officers.

“The commission will also engage a total of 13,557 Assistant Presiding Officers and 3,259 Presiding Officers (Voting Points) and we will also engage not less than 841 Reserves. There will be one Returning Officer for the election. There are 2,627 polling units and a registered voter population of 2,210,534. Our training programme has been robust and we are confident that our trainers have done a good job.

However, INEC had said that in Edo, only 1.72 million collected their permanent voter cards out of the 2.2 million registered voters in the state, adding that 484,000 persons who did not collect theirs would not vote.