The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has maintained that it has no plans to postpone the September 19 and October 110 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states respectively, as demanded by some political partied
About 21 de registered political parties had called on the commission to issue afresh dates for the elections, following a recent declaration by the Appeal Court, which restored its powers to be re listed and recognized by INEC.
But National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voters Education Committee (IVEC), of INEC, Festus Okoye, has declared that the elections would go on as planned, stressing that there would be no alternative to the peaceful conduct of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
Okoye, who made the declaration while declaring open a sensitization forum, organized for journalists in Edo state, ahead of the polls, said failure to do so will leave both states with constitutional crisis that would be difficult to resolve.
He called on political parties and their candidates to sensitize their supporters against any form of violence, as well as use of intemperate, inflammatory language designed to incite violence.
He said, “Political parties and all the critical stakeholders in the electoral process must see the conduct of these elections as a national project that must be executed in strict compliance with all the safety protocols.
“There is no alternative to the peaceful conduct of these elections as the alternative will leave the people of the two states with a constitutional logjam that may be difficult to resolve. Political parties must eschew violence. Political Parties and their candidates must eschew the use of intemperate, inflammatory and base language designed to inflame passions or incite violence.
“On our part, we are determined and resolved to proceed with the conduct of the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections and all the outstanding bye-elections. In doing so, the Commission will not compromise the safety and welfare of its staff, ad-hoc staff as well as the voters. We will work closely with the security agencies to arrest threats and degrade acts of violence,” he added.
He described the media as an important and indispensable component of the democratic process, assuring that the Commission would continue its robust partnership with the media as it sought to consolidate Nigerian democracy.
“We therefore implore you to take time and understand and understudy the powers of the Commission within the context and ambit of the Constitution, the Electoral Act and the Regulations, Manuals and Guidelines in place for the smooth conduct of elections,” he added