No going back on Ondo Poll —INEC boss

CHAIRMAN of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Yakubu Mahmood, on Sunday, said there was no plan by the commission to  postpone  the Ondo State governorship slated for Saturday this week.

He said arrangements for its smooth conduct in all the local government areas of the state  had been put in place.

The INEC boss, who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, in Abuja, on the call by the Senator Ahmed Makarif-led National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the shift of the poll pending the determination of all the suits relating to the poll pending before both the Appeal and Supreme courts,”the preparations for the Ondo governorship election started over six months ago and the  date fixed for it was well advertised long before now.

“The grounds for postponing any election are enshrined in the Electoral Act. Certainly, internal squabble, within a political party is not among the grounds so stated the Political Party and the individuals calling for the postponement,” he said.

Yakubu also debunked speculations that the commission planned to rig the election in favour of a particular political party and its candidate.

“The commission, as a responsible body created by law of the land to oversee the smooth conduct elections in the country, is not into the rigging business and it will not be under my leadership.

“The commission hereby appeals to all Nigerians to disregard inflammatory comments being made by faceless persons or groups against it, which are intended to derail the electoral process.”

Yakubu assured that “the commission nevertheless will remain focused on its core mandate of organising, conducting and concluding all elections in a credible and transparent manner.”

The Makarif Committee had  on Saturday canvassed for the postponement of the poll  pending the determination of the suit before the Supreme Court on the matter.

In a statement issued  by its national publicity secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the party stated that  the  call became necessary since  the INEC, “is a party to the suit before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and is well aware of the steps taken by certain parties to the Suit to frustrate the course of justice”.

The party added that it was also “making this call against the backdrop of the fact that INEC postponed the Edo State Gubernatorial Election and recently postponed the Rivers rerun elections without any cogent or visible reason.”