By Myke Uzendu, Abuja
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the October 10 governorship poll in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede, and Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) have expressed suspicion of foul play in Thursday’s mysterious inferno that destroyed card readers, as well as other non-sensitive materials for the election
The AUTHORITY learnt that over 5,141 card readers meant for the governorship election which was housed in a container in the state INEC office were destroyed during the unfortunate incident that took place around 8.00pm on Thursday.
Reacting in a statement, the PDP candidate said, “We cannot rule out a foul play in the mystery fire that completely razed down the state INEC office; now, our fate is in the hands of God”.
Adding his voice, The Head, Media Research for the Jegede governorship campaign organisation, Mr Samuel Fasua, also said in a statement, “For a while now, our main rival in this race has been in the eye of the storm over accusation that it was using loan assistance decoy to collect the pin codes in the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) of drivers, artisans and other professionals across the state.
“Telephone SMS was sent to them through the Ondo State Entrepreneurship Agency, that they should submit the code numbers on their PVCs latest September 2, 2020; that the state government wanted to grant them loans to boost their businesses.
“Now, shortly after the collection of innocent people’s PVCs through the backdoor, came the shocking news that the INEC office had been razed by fire and that over 5000 card readers had been burnt.
“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 alibi.”
Also in his reaction, Governorship candidate of the ZLP and the deputy governor of the state, Hon Agboola Ajayi, warned that the Ondo electorate will not tolerate any ploy to subvert their wishes in the forthcoming election.
Ajayi who queried the target of the fire, the card reader, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary Babatope Okeowo said, “Why did the fire target the store where card readers meant for the election were kept?
”The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, H. E Alfred Agboola Ajayi views the fire incident that gutted the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with grave concern.”
The candidates, who called on the National Chairman of the INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, to order a thorough probe of the suspicious fire incident, and bring its perpetrators to book, further appealed to the INEC boss to cause the authentic voters’ lists to be displayed in all the INEC local council offices and at the national headquarters in Abuja.