Edo Poll: Worsening security challenge could lead to state of emergency, INEC warns

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Ahead of the forthcoming September 19Gubernatorial election in Edo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday warned political gladiators in the state to play the game by the rule to avoid a possible breakdown of law and order.

The commission specifically expressed dismay that the manner major political party leaders were going about their campaigns was capable of leading to a declarartion of a state of emergency in the state.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, gave the warning in interaction with heads of media organisations in Benin.

Okoye said the commission was ready for the Edo election but pleaded with leaderships of the political parties and their supporters to sheath their swords and maintain the peace for a hitch-free poll.

He warned the political gladiators to conduct their campaigns within the ambit of the law.

According to him, the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic has created an unusual electoral atmosphere never experienced before.

“We are aware that INEC has never conducted elections under a pandemic situation.

“Therefore, this pandemic will make us evolve new strategies for electoral officials, ad-hoc staff, security agencies, voters, and stakeholders.

“We don’t want anybody to jeopardise their health during the exercise and the commission will continue to fine-tune the electoral process within the ambit of the Constitution.

“We have advised political parties not to play with end-of-tenure elections because anything that disturbs election from being conducted and concluded on or before November 10 will create a constitutional crisis that may lead to a state of emergency,” Okoye said.

He said that should INEC be confronted with such a scenario, it could only be remedied in accordance with either Section 180, 191, or 305.

“This will warrant the incumbent governor to seek President Muhammadu Buhari’s permission to declare a state of emergency in the state.

“My advice to all the political gladiators is that they should play by the rules of the game to avoid constitutional crisis arising from the election,” Okoye said.

(NAN)

 

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