The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed why it cannot shift the forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo States due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), during the virtual meeting on Wednesday said that INEC is going ahead with all scheduled elections to stave off possible constitutional crisis that could derail the nation’s democracy and electoral process.
Okoye also stressed during the virtual meeting that instead of throwing in the towel and postpone all elections to an indeterminate period; the commission was determined to lead the process of innovation and creativity in the electoral process.
He said, “Throwing in the towel in our constitutional circumstances may do violence to the Constitution and wittingly or unwittingly throw the country into avoidable constitutional crisis.
“The commission is therefore determined to proceed with the two end of tenure governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states and the 10 Senatorial and state assembly elections with cautious optimistic bearing in mind that the health and safety of the people will be crucial determinants of the success or otherwise of the elections.
“We are mindful of the fact that we are at war with an “unseen enemy. We are aware of the fact that some of our compatriots have lost their lives on account of COVID-19 pandemic. We are aware that so many people are in isolation and quarantine centres. We are aware that some of our people are isolated and quarantined at home,” Okoye concluded.
This came after Chairman INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the commission would continue to adopt and implement measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s electoral activities.
Yakubu, who stated this at the commission’s first virtual consultative meeting with media organizations, solicited media cooperation and support in disseminating required information that would help to protect the health of voters and all those involved in electoral activities.
He added that INEC welcomes media comments and suggestions as critical stakeholders involved in the reporting and analysis of the nation’s democracy and electoral process.