The All Progressives Congress, APC in Ondo state through its Publicity Secretary Alex Kalejaye said it was taken aback over the fire incident at the state INEC office
Kalejaye in the statement said “Although, fire incident could happen at any time, yet the party is more concerned that the unfortunate occurrence happened a few weeks to the gubernatorial election.
“While the party declines to join the pontificating wagon to condemn and apportion blame on the unfortunate development, we believe strongly that the gravity of what has happened demands prompt action from the security agencies to immediately unravel what actually transpired, to forestall a recurrence.
“The chapter also calls on the national headquarters of INEC to do all it could to ensure the incident does not result in setbacks in its preparation for the governorship election in October.
Howevere, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ambassador Rufus Akeju while addressing a press conference in Akure denied that the fire incident was a ploy to collusion with any political party to rig the election.
Akeju said the allegation was baseless and unfortunate.
According to him, the fire incident started “between 7.15 pm and 7.30 pm when most of the Commission staff had gone home.
“The fire incident actually affected the Smart Card Readers Store. In all, 5,141 Card Readers that were inside the Metal compartment (Store) when the fire erupted were completely destroyed.
“The gallant display of firemen from Ondo State fire service and the Federal Fire Service prevented the inferno from spreading to other parts of the office building.
“Up till now, the actual cause of the fire is unknown but relevant security agencies have commenced an investigation and you will be further briefed as events unfold.
” Let me use this medium to allay the fears of the electorate, political parties and our stakeholders and the good people of Ondo State that the fire incident will not affect the conduct of the forthcoming Gubernatorial Election in Ondo State in any form neither will it lead to the postponement of the Election.
The REC noted that” necessary arrangements have been put in place for the replacement of the damaged materials.
“Let me reiterate that our determination to conduct a free, fair, credible, and successful election remains undaunted.
“We shall not rest on our oars as an Election Management Body to always pursue the Vision and Mission of being an EMB that meets the aspirations of the Nigerian people.
He expressed appreciation to the men and officers of the Ondo State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service Akure, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Akure Nigeria, and the Federal Fire Service, Ilesha for coming to our aids at our time of need.