By Frankie Ifop
Source: Paradise News

The Cross River State Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to digitalise the electoral process to reduce human contact as this will help reduce the high risk of Coronavirus spread associated with conventional voting system in Nigerians.

Dr. Edu made this known to the newly posted INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Dr Hart Emmanuel, during a courtesy visit/familiarisation visit earlier in her office.

“Let me start by congratulating you on your appointment as the REC for Cross River State and to officially welcome you to our State. As you know, Cross River is the People’s Paradise and a land of hospitality made up of very civil, peace loving people. We’re pleased to have you sent to our State and I can ssure you of our unflinching support and synergy all through your stay.

“There’s going to be a great working relationship between the health Ministry and INEC especially as we approach the northern senatorial elections where we must monitor full compliance to the preventive measures to guard against Corona Virus spread in our state.

“I’ll wish to use this medium to solicit your Commission’s cooperation to see that our Electoral Processes can be Digitalise, void gathering, making use of infrared thermometers for screening, provide hand washing items as well as hand sanitisers and encourage electorate to use mask; as this will help reduce the risk associated with conducting an Election during outbreak of COVID-19 or other pandemics – even though we’re not praying for any future occurrences of such”, Edu said.

The COVID-19 Taskforce Chairman expressed her confidence towards the new REC, stating that with the zeal, passion and experience shown so far, the State is rest assured that they can always get the best of electoral practices just like CROSIEC displayed in the just concluded Local Government Area elections.

On his part, Dr Hart Emmanuel and his team thanked the Honourable Commissioner for the warm reception amidst her busy schedule and assured her of partnership/synergy to ensure that elections in Cross River State remain free, fair and without violence.

He also reiterated that INEC has strategised and brought out policies/guidelines that are in accordance with the NCDC guidelines to help reduce the spread of the virus and other subsequent pandemics.

“We will work with your team to achieve our mandate while keeping Cross Riverians safe”,Emmanuel said.

In the visit was the Permanent Secretary of the Cross River Ministry of Health, Barr. Takim Asu Takim; the Director of Public Health, Dr Iwara Iwara; INEC Head of Operations, Mr Hezekiah Monday; INEC Head of ICT, Mr Tonye Dudefia; INEC protocol officer, Mr Kingsley Nsa; and a host of other dignitaries.

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