- As INEC Allays Fears, Says Election Dates Valid
Concerns are mounting that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may alter the dates of the gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo, save the prevailing Coronavirus pandemic that has brought the world to its knees abates.
The elections were scheduled to hold on September 19 and October 10, respectively. However, there have been worries over the feasibility of the elections as slated following the confirmation of COVID-19 cases in some states of the federation and the FCT with an uptick in the tally from 12 to 30 cases in less than 48 hours.
The postponement speculations further heighten after the Commission shifted the Senatorial bye-elections for Bayelsa, Imo and Plateau States still as a result of the novel virus.
The incumbent governors in Edo and Ondo states, Godwin Obaseki and Rotimi Akeredolu respectively of the ruling All Progressives Congress are already sweating it out to survive the formidable challenge coming from the would-be candidates of the opposition’s People’s Democratic Party and other parties expected to stand in the guber elections.
But INEC has dismissed the insinuations, insisting that the Edo and Ondo governorship elections will go ahead as scheduled.
Speaking on the concerns, the National Commissioner and Chairman Voters’ Education and Information Committee, Festus Okoye, said, “the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not contemplating, planning or thinking of shifting, postponing or on anyway tampering with or adjusting the timetable and timelines for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections.
“The Commission is confident that the health authorities and the Nigerian people will contain and overcome its present health emergency before the commencement of major activities relating to the conduct of the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections scheduled for 19th September and 10th October 2020.”
He continued that, “the two major activities in Edo and Ondo States that involves a large congregation of persons will commence in June 2020. The conduct of Party Primaries in Edo State will start on the June 2 and end on June 27, 2020 while the commencement of campaign by political parties in public will start on June 21, 2020.
For Ondo Governorship election, the conduct of Party Primaries will start on July 2 and end on the July 27, 2020 while campaigns by Political Parties will commence on July 13, 2020.
“We are confident that the nation will contain and possibly overcome its present health challenges even before the issuance of the statutory notice of elections for Edo Governorship election on the 1st day of June and that of Ondo on July 1, 2020.
“The conduct of the two elections are constitutionally circumscribed with inbuilt mechanism for adjustment within the confines and ambit of the constitutionally circumscribes timeframes.
“We assure the nation that the processes and procedures for the conduct of the two Governorship elections are on course and there is no cause for any form of anxiety. The Commission is not thinking of or contemplating any shift or postponement of the two elections”.