The Independent National Electoral Commission’s office in Onyedega, the headquarters of the Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State, has been abandoned and overgrown with weeds due to a flood incident.
SaharaReporters learnt that the INEC Onyedega office in Ibaji LGA was used for the election of a former state governor, Ibrahim Idris in 2003 and 2007.
INEC office abandoned and overgrown with weeds at Ibaji LGA, Kogi State
Residents told SaharaReporters during a visit to the creaky, bushy INEC structure that instead of the commission to rebuild the office after the flood, the authorities abandoned it and opted for a rented private building in a neighbouring area – a situation which made the people smell a rat.
Our correspondent observed that election materials and people’s old voter cards were abandoned inside the building and are already rotting away during the visit.
A resident, Johnson Ajogwu, said although the voter cards and election materials might be out of use, it was wrong for INEC to abandon them in the structure and start using a private facility.
“The INEC office was flooded around 2011 and 2012, and that was it. The commission left the LGA headquarters and moved to a private apartment in a neighbouring area. They did not clear the building. They even abandoned election materials and people’s voter cards in the structure.”
Abandoned voters cards
SaharaReporters observed that the INEC office windows were removed while the election materials were already soaked with dust. A section of the building might soon collapse.
Another commentator, the Ibaji Progressive Youth Foundation President, Apeh Kelvin, said thousands of voter cards were rotting away in the abandoned INEC office.
He added that the commission was wrong to abandon such sensitive materials.
Election materials abandoned by INEC
“The INEC office is overgrown and abandoned to rodents. During the December 2020 LGA elections, no electoral officers or ballot boxes were brought to Onyedega, yet a result was announced. Where did they vote? Who were the people who voted?
“This is why we need a functioning INEC office at the LGA headquarters. Our people don’t trust the electoral process because of this nonchalance of the authorities.”
SaharaReporters, New York