The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, on Tuesday, said the governorship election in Ondo State would not be postponed, saying there was no justification for its postponement.
Yakubu, who stated this in Akure, the Ondo State capital, during a stakeholders’ meeting on the state governorship election, said the commission would be ready to comply with any superior court order on the candidacy of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election.
He said: “I wish to reiterate that INEC has no plan to postpone the election this weekend. We are fully prepared. We see no reason to activate the provision of Section 26 or Section 36 of the Electoral Act and there is no other ground in law to postpone an election.
“I wish to assure you of INECs preparedness and neutrality. We are not unaware of the partisan insinuation of bias in the nomination of candidates by one of the political parties. However, where an intra party dispute becomes the subject of litigation resulting in specific orders of court, INEC shall obey such orders until they set aside superior court. We remain guided by this principle.
“INEC has no plan to postpone the Ondo State election and we are fully prepared for the election. So far, about 140 elections had been conducted by the commission and not one election nullified by any court of law, including Kogi State, that we are not guided with electoral law.”
The INEC boss disclosed that the commission had put in place every step to ensure successful conduct of the governorship election, saying the stage was set for eligible electorate to choose the next governor of the state from the list of 28 political parties participating in the election.
Yakubu said eligible voters shall be accredited and immediately, thereafter, receive the ballot paper and proceed to vote without any delay, saying the only means of accreditation remained the use of smart card reader.
He, however, said no voter, including politicians, would be entitled to security protection during the election, while he pleaded with political parties, politicians and their supporters to eschew violence and intimidation before, during and after the election.
Also, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, expressed the readiness of his men to ensure law and order during the election.
Idris, who disclosed this during the stakeholders’ meeting, said over 26,000 additional conventional police officers had been drafted to the state for the election.
According to him, three helicopters, 29 gun boats, 300 Hilux van, 12 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) would be used to cover the Ondo governorship election, saying this was to guard against security challenges during the election.
He said the police had established synergies with all other security agencies to ensure the peaceful conduct of the election.
The police boss disclosed that movement would be restricted on the election day, while all the borders would be closed on Friday, November 25, saying the borders would be handled by men of the military operatives in the state.
He said: “Organisers of violence should have a rethink. Don’t allow yourself to be used as we have put everything in place to ensure a free, fair and transparent election in Ondo State.”