The Independent Electoral Commission will announce its position on calls for the postponement of the Edo State governorship election.
The Department of State Services and the Nigerian Police Force had on Wednesday called for the postponement of the election as a result of threats by insurgents and extremists to cause mayhem.
INEC, which expressed shock at the call, said it would meet with the NPF and the DSS to decide if it would go ahead with the election, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday.
The National Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, said this during a meeting with political parties and other relevant stakeholders in Benin, the Edo State capital, on Wednesday.
Some of the stakeholders, who spoke during the meeting with the INEC chairman, were divided over the call for the postponement of the poll.
Yakubu explained that though the electoral umpire was set for the election, having prepared for the poll in the last six months, the concern raised by the security agencies was one that would not allow the commission to take a definitive decision.
The INEC chairman added, “I said when we met earlier today (Wednesday) that out of the 14 activities outlined for the conduct of the Edo election, based on the calendar and schedule of activities, we successfully concluded 12 of the activities.
“Only two are outstanding – end of campaign, which is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday), and then, the election, scheduled for Saturday. As far as the commission is concerned, we have taken every step necessary for the success of Edo election on September 10.
“But towards the end of the meeting, the news broke that the security agencies are advising the commission to consider postponing the election because of the credible evidence of threat available to the security agencies.
“The commission will return and take a decision and this will be communicated. We have consulted with you just as we need to consult with the security agencies to find out more and then, take a decision thereafter.
“Whatever the case, the commission will take a decision swiftly and communicate it to the Nigerian public.”
Sources within the commission said it would announce its position on the election on Thursday (today).
The Peoples Democratic Party, which also expressed surprise at the call for the postponement of the election, insisted that it must go on as scheduled.
The party said it was taken aback by the “advice” by the security agencies, especially coming a day after President Muhammadu Buhari attended a mega rally of his party, the All Progressives Congress, in Benin City, which it said was concluded without any hitch.
A statement by the spokesperson for the National Caretaker Committee of the party, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, described the action of the DSS and the police as funny going by the fact that the commission conducted a by-election in war-torn Borno State.
Adeyeye said, “It is therefore lamentable to hear from these same security agencies that election cannot be held in a state where, in less than 24 hours, the President and all the APC leaders and members had an uninterrupted rally.
“We are equally counting on INEC not to succumb to this false alarm by acting independently and holding the election as scheduled.”
Culled from Punch