The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned voters in Edo and Ondo against wearing face masks with the logo of their political parties, to polling units ahead of the governorship elections scheduled to hold on Sept. 19 and Oct. 10. this year.
Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee (EOLC), gave the warning on Wednesday in Abuja, during the commission’s first virtual consultative meeting with media organisations.
“Wearing of face masks to polling units will be compulsory, but any voter with branded face masks will be turned back from the polling unit,” he said.
He, however, said that INEC would not provide or share face masks to voters during polls.
Ibeanu, in his presentation at the meeting, presided over by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the commission could not afford the cost of providing face masks to registered voters in the states.
According to him, it will cost not less than N640 million to provide face masks to all registered voters for the elections.
“INEC cannot provide these face masks. If we were to provide these masks for the registered voters, we are talking about 6.4 million voters.
“Even if you handed out masks costing N100, that is about N640 million already.
“So, should INEC be spending N640 million handing out masks that voluntary organisations and government agencies can give to people if we had a national campaign for this purpose?” Ibeanu asked.
He, however, urged the media to sensitise people on the need for individuals and organisations to donate and distribute face masks to the people, not just during elections but at all times.
“It is not just about the election. It is just that it will help in the circumstances of the pandemic.
“I don’t think anybody in Nigeria should not have access to face masks now. But the more important thing is that people can also improvise and they need to understand that they can do so,” he added.
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