Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, has given assurance that the commission’s collation centre in Edo State under construction will be ready before the state’s September 19 governorship election.
Yakubu gave the assurance when he visited the INEC office in Benin and other offices in some local government areas of the state on Saturday to assess the readiness of the commission for the poll.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the INEC state headquarters located at Aduwawa had been undergoing massive renovation with the construction of a new collation centre inside the premises.
All members of staff were temporarily relocated to the commission’s office along Sapele Road for its operations.
Speaking at the commission’s state headquarters in Benin, Yakubu said he was satisfied with the level of work done, adding that the collation centre would be ready before the election.
He said: “In addition to conducting elections, INEC also has infrastructure to maintain.
“This is our state headquarter in Edo State.
“It has been tremendously flooded.
“We have to do a lot of work by relocating to our other office on Sapele Road. We have confidence that collation of results will be done in this building.
“INEC has a lot of facilities to maintain; we have 774 Local government area offices in the 36 states and the FCT.
“We have staff quarters and also quarters of the Resident Electoral Commissioners and there is a lot to do in terms of maintenance.
“It is not just conducting elections, but maintaining the infrastructures.
“The collation centre is almost ready.
“Beginning from September 19, this is where journalists will come for collation of results.
“I will make the place more conducive and comfortable for you, including putting more power points for the camera light.”
The chairman appreciated INEC staff at Ikpoba-Okha, Egor and Oredo Local Government Area offices for their dedication and commitment to work.
Yakubu said: “I urge you all to maintain neutrality and professionalism during the election.
“I will not take it lightly with anyone found wanting in any way.
“Let the people choose their governor; we are only concerned about the processes and procedures.”
The INEC boss said he would be coming back to Benin for the signing of peace accord by political parties participating in the election.