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No going back on Ondo Poll – INEC boss

THE Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Yakubu Mahmood, on Sunday said that there was no plan by the Commission to  postpone the Ondo State governorship slated for this Saturday as being agitated in some quarters

Professor Yakubu declared that there was no going back on the conduct of the election as all arrangements for its smooth conduct in all the local governments areas of the state have been put in place.

The INEC boss who spoke with Tribune Online 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 declared that this was not a cogent reason to postpone the poll.

According to him, “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 Law. Certainly, internal squabble within a political party is not among the grounds so stated the political party and the individuals calling for the postponement.”

Prof Yakubu also debunked the speculations making the round that the commission was plotting to rig the election in favour of a particular political party and its candidate, saying that “the Commission is not into the rigging business.”

According to him, “the Commission strongly rejects the unsubstantiated allegation made by certain persons that the commission is planning to “rig” the election.

“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.”

Prof Yakubu however assured all and sundry 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 Senator Ahmed Makarif led committee had 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.”