The Governorship election in Edo State on Saturday recorded violation of the Coronavirus pandemic protocols as number of voters were clustering up with no regard to the physical distancing order.
Penpushing reports that in many of the polling booths visited larger percentage of the voters also shunned the use of facemasks, while a typical example was at Oredo Ward 4, Emokpae Model Primary School, Benin City.
The voters at Oredo Ward 12 with 6 units in Oba market were wearing face masks, washing hands but not observing physical distancing, and findings also revealed that a group of party supporters chased out a man, accused of vote-buying and attempting to disrupt the voting process.
Penpushing further reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in reaction said it cannot force voters to abide by coronavirus health rules in the polls in the State.
The electoral body spokesman Festus Okoye, said the commission cannot force people to comply with precautionary measures ”after several warnings it had issued”, stressing that the conduct of an election ”is a collective responsibility and as such, people should act for their safety by observing physical distancing and face mask wearing protocols”.
“The commission does not have its own police force. The conduct of an election is a collective responsibility. People are to take responsibility for their own safety.We have made it very clear to the people through the social media, the regular media and our various platforms to sensitise them about observing social distancing,” Okoye said.
Penpushing also reports that, the commission imagemaker explained that infrared thermometers and hand sanitisers were provided at the Registration Area Collation Centres, the Local Government Area Collation Centres, and the State Collation Centres.
The spokesman emphasized that the commission issued a ‘no-face mask, no voting’ directive and the two-metres physical distancing measure in the election process, adding that,“we do not want to create a situation where there will be confusion at the polling units just because people are hesitating to observe social distancing. We have fully applied moral-suasion and we cannot use force to insist that they must observe social distancing. These are lessons all of us are learning,”.