The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it will stem the “ugly reports” of violence coming from politicians in Edo State ahead the September 19 governorship election.
By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja
– Says Nasarawa bye-election to determine Edo, Ondo polls –
To that end, the Commission, Wednesday, said it will immediately summon Campaign Council’s, candidates and political parties participating in the Edo election over escalating threats of violence.
INEC National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said that the Commission is carefully monitoring what is happening in Edo and Ondo states and will be meeting Thursday to deliberate on how to avert the looking violence.
INEC Chair, who during an assessment visit to Nasarawa State ahead of Saturday’s Nasarawa Central bye-election, said “we are carefully monitoring what is happening in Edo State and also in Ondo. The Commission will be meeting tomorrow and given the urgency of the situation in Edo State, we may have to immediately call a meeting of not just the candidates and the political parties but also the Campaign Councils, but whatever we have to do to stem the ugly report of violence so far or threat of it.”
He said the Commission will be test running its plans to conduct under the COVID-19 context with the Nasarawa Central House of Assembly bye-election slated for Saturday August 8.
Yakubu added further that the outcome of the Saturday’s bye-election will determine the success or otherwise of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, as well as other pending bye-elections.
The election will be held in 44 Units across seven electoral Wards with 71,919 registered voters expected to participate.
He said that the Nasarawa Central bye-election is very important to the Commission because it is the first election in Nigeria under the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the lessons that will be learnt from the election will be applied in the conduct of the coming governorship elections.
The INEC boss also noted that the Commission deliberately chose the Nasarawa Central bye-election to learn the “bitter lessons” that will help it conduct the Edo and Ondo governorship
According to him, the Saturday’s election is an extraordinary election that will test the measures put in place by the Commission under the prevailing circumstances, adding that by INEC’s estimation, no election is too small or too big.
He said he was in the State to inspect the readiness of the Commission’s office in Nasarawa for the Saturday’s election and to meet with traditional rulers and seek their cooperation, especially in creating awareness on the measures put in place protect voters against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, during a courtesy call on the Emir of Nasarawa, Ibrahim Usman Jubrin, the INEC Chair, assured the monarch that the Commission will remain apolitical and will continue to abide by the wish of the people through the ballot box.
Responding, the royal father stated that the traditional Council will continue to support INECs effort to build a strong and virile democracy, noting that “the conduct of elections is never easy”.
Stakeholders at the meeting including the Chairman Board of Trustee (BoT) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Walid Jubril, commended the Commissioned over the precautionary measures put in place to protect the voters.