The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has relocated its candidates sitting for the General Certificate in Education (GCE) in Edo State on Saturday to centres in Ore, Ondo State and Agbor in Delta State, due to the governorship election that would take place that same day.
Confirming the relocation on Tuesday to pressmen, the Head, Public Affairs Unit of WAEC in Nigeria, Mr Demianus Ojijeogu, stated that the relocation was not the idea of the council, but at the instance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies.
According to him, early August, the council wrote to INEC, notifying it that the Mathematics paper would take place on Saturday (the Election Day), and requested for an exemption from the restriction on movement that would be imposed on that day, for the examination officials and the candidates.
He continued: “The next thing we saw was a letter inviting us to a meeting in Benin, Edo State. It was held in the office of the Commissioner of Police. The DIG Operations, who happened to be in the state, chaired the meeting.
“Other security agencies were there. The Resident Electoral Commissioner was there. They asked us to postpone the examination; we told them we could not postpone the examinations because of its international nature and that the integrity of the examinations cannot be compromised.”
According to him, “On August 29, we got a letter from INEC telling us categorically that they cannot grant our request for exemption from restriction of movement; that we should relocate the candidates to states that are contiguous to Edo State.
“So, if INEC and security agents have told you that you can’t hold the examinations in Edo State, what is left for the council to do? We looked at the contiguous states (for centres) – Delta and Ondo.
“We’ve gone to Ore; we’ve been able to get centres there. We went to Agbor in Delta State; we managed to get centres there, for candidates to relocate in order to write the examinations – still open, believing that INEC would shift ground, and that the state government would intervene and allow the candidates to write the examinations in Edo State.”
Meanwhile, the Director-General, of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Sule Kazaure, has pleaded for adequate security measures for corps members who will participate in the election.
“We are soliciting for cooperation to ensure the safety of our corps members. We need adequate security for our corps members who will be participating in the process before, during and after the election,” he said when he visited 4 Mechanised Brigade, Police Headquarters and Department of State Services.