The National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Festus Okoye, has again dropped the hint of cancellation of the Edo and Ondo governorship polls in the event of violence.
Okoye who spoke in Benin yesterday at a one-day seminar for journalists advised politicians to eschew violence as there is no alternative to the peaceful conduct of the two forthcoming elections.
While Edo governorship election holds on September 19, that of neighbouring Ondo is scheduled to hold in October.
Reiterating the urgent need by all the parties to keep the peace, Okoye warned that in the event of the elections not holding as scheduled due to violence, it will create a constitutional logjam that will be difficult to resolve.
He said: “There is no alternative to the peaceful conduct of these elections as the alternative will leave the people of the two states with a constitutional logjam that may be difficult to resolve. Political parties must eschew violence.
“Political Parties and their candidates must eschew the use of intemperate, inflammatory and base language designed to inflame passions or incite violence.”
The national commissioner reminded that as the end of tenure elections, the Edo and Ondo governorship polls with strict and immovable constitutional and legal timelines all stakeholders must, therefore, conduct their activities in a manner that does not jeopardise the due and constitutional conduct of the elections.
Ahead of the September 19 election in Edo State, Okoye charged journalists to name and shame those political parties who intend to induce voters with material benefits, noting that only true collaborative efforts can get rid of vote-buying in the country.
He warned that anybody buying or selling votes may likely be arrested by security agents present at the polling booths.
The commissioner added that no political parties should be allowed to use violence, money and intimidation to truncate the will of the people
Okoye who reiterated the determination of the commission to proceed with the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections and all the outstanding bye-elections assured that it will work closely with the security agencies to arrest threats and degrade acts of violence.
Okoye noted that the commission is conducting the Edo and Ondo governorship elections and fifteen outstanding bye-elections within the context of COVID-19 pandemic that has substantially altered the previous ways of doing things.
He added that the electoral body also succeeded in responding timely, creatively and innovatively to the pandemic by altering the modus operandi of conducting elections.
The national commissioner said: “Within this context, the Commission designed and released its Policy of Conducting Elections within the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic
INEC hints of cancellation