…assures of readiness for the election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured electorates in Edo of its readiness to conduct free, fair and credible 2023 general elections, beginning with the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly poll.

Giving the assurance while fielding questions from The Nigerian Observer, the INEC Head of Voter Education and Publicity in the state, Mr. Timidi Wariowei, said as part of its readiness, the commission has distributed over 95 percent of the non-sensitive materials to its local government offices in Edo.

He disclosed that some sensitive materials have started arriving the state, adding that more are expected in the next few days which, according to him, would be distributed upon arrival.

Wariowei informed that the state electoral umpire has trained some of its adhoc staff for the elections, noting that training of its Presiding and Assistant Presiding Officers, would begin today, Friday, and end on Sunday.

He revealed further that while the training of the Registration Area Technicians (RATECs) is expected to commence weekend, INEC has distributed a total of 1,996,088 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) out of the total 2,501,081 registered voters in Edo to the people.

While stating that 504,996 PVCs are yet to be collected, Wariowei explained that prior to the 2021 Continuous Voters Registration (CVR), the state INEC was in possession of 399,149 old (uncollected) PVCs.

“Some of the sensitive materials are already at the state branch of CBN, which will be later taken to local government offices in the state for the election,” Wariowei said.

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“We have received all the BVAS machines that the commission will be using for accreditation of voters and they are all ready for the elections in the state.

“The Commission’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) Department has started configuring the BVAS machines that we are going to use for the election in Edo. In the next few days, they will conclude the configuring of the BVAS.

“We are going with our programmes as scheduled in our Time-table. We have done a lot in terms of preparation.

“As we speak (Thursday), about 95 percent of the non-sensitive materials have arrived the state office and we have also sent them to the local government offices.

“Collation and Returning Officers who are recruited from INEC Headquarters will also be trained early next week before we will post them to their various wards and local government for the election.

“I want to assure everybody that the commission is ready for the election and nothing will stop the commission from conducting the elections,” he assured.

Speaking to our correspondent on phone, the Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Edo State Command, Mr. Richard Ogbebor, said the command is fully ready to provide security before, during and after the election.

He disclosed that the NSCDC has in the past week sensitised the people on the need to embrace peace in the state, assuring that the command would be deploying its men across the state in collaboration with other security agencies towards ensuring the election is peaceful.