The INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Festus Okoye, has said that as long as a registered voter comes to the Polling Unit before 2:30 pm they will be allowed to vote regardless of how long the process takes.
Okoye said this during an interview on Channels TV on Friday while explaining what steps the umpire has put in place to ensure a smooth run for the Edo governorship election which is set to hold Saturday.
“No registered voter who comes to the Polling Unit Tomorrow will be disenfranchised,” the INEC boss said.
This is the first major election organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the COVID-19 era and it is also the first time that a peace accord is being signed ahead of a governorship election.
“We are looking forward to tomorrow with cautious optimism,” Okoye said, adding: “we are confident that our message relating to voting in safety has permeated the nooks and crannies of Edo State.
According to him, the umpire has created sufficient awareness for the COVID-19 guidelines in the weeks leading up the election and anyone who does otherwise, will not be allowed to participate.
We are confident that so many of the voters are already aware of the fact that if they come to the Polling Unit without a face mask or covering, they will not be allowed to vote.
“We have emphasized this over and over. “The first thing our voters are going to do is to apply the infrared thermometers that have been supplied to every Polling Unit on election day. Every voter will undergo that particular procedure of the use of infrared thermometers to check people’s temperature,” he said.
The exercise is expected to start for 8:30 am and according to Okoye, enough time will be given to allow everyone who arrives at the Polling Unit before 2:30 pm to vote.
“Polling will start at 8:30 in morning. Why we have said this, is to enable our officials prepare well.
“Prior to this particular period, we didn’t have to pack hand sanitizers, methylated spirits and we didn’t have to pack facemasks for our officials but now we are going to be doing this and giving them some level of refresher course.
“Any voter who is on the outer queue by 2:30 pm will be allowed to vote even if the voting takes up to 5:00 pm but any voter who comes to the polling unit after 2:30 pm will not be allowed into the queue but those who are already there will be allowed to vote even if the voting takes up to 6:00 pm,”.