BY SEYIFUNMI LUMEKO
Sequel to the fire that burnt over 5,000 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) card readers in its office in Ondo State. political parties have listed reasons the inferno should be probed by the Nigeria Police Force.
Recall that fire had on Thursday gutted the INEC office in Akure destroying 5,141 card readers meant for the forthcoming elections in the State.
While the People’s Democratic Party, PDP gubernatorial candidate for the election, Mr Eyitayo Jegede described it as foul play, Incumbent governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, described the incident as unfortunate and shocking. Crying foul, the leading political candidates in Ondo State are calling for a thorough investigation of the fire outbreak.
Jegede said: “We smell a rat in all of this, knowing that the next scene in what looks like a drama of the absurd may lead to steps that can tinker with the authentic INEC voters’ list, with yesterday’s fire incident as an alibi.
He tasked the National Chairman of INEC, Mr Mahmood Yakubu, to order a thorough probe of the suspicious fire incident and bring its perpetrators to book.
”Cause the authentic voters’ lists for the state, as respectively available in all the INEC local council offices and at the national headquarters in Abuja, to be publicly displayed.
”Rise up to the test of integrity thrown up by the INEC fire incident and conduct sweeping investigations to unveil likely perpetrators of the act, and their sponsors.”
Besides, the incumbent governor of the State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who is seeking a second term asked the authorities to unravel the cause of the fire.
Akeredolu told INEC: “We sympathise with you and we want INEC to know that the people of this state are really concerned and are with you at this point in time in this calamitous situation.
“We are with you and whatever you think we can do that will not be termed as being partisan, because whatever we do now could be misinterpreted since we are in an election period, but no doubt we have to come as government and not as contestants.
“I can see the determination from how you spoke that the election will still hold on the 10th of October. We are so sorry about this.”
On his part, Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi, who is contesting the election on the platform of ZLP, wondered why the fire occurred in the store that houses voter cards, of all places.
“Why did the fire target the store where card readers meant for the election were kept?” he asked in his reaction yesterday.”
For YPP candidate, Comrade Dotun Ojon, said the professional politicians were out to destabilise the electioneering process in order to continue their reign.
He added that the inability of the fire servicemen to put out the fire showed the failure of the present administration at both state and national levels in basic but sensitive and strategic areas.