The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday warned that the fierce political tension brewing in Edo ahead of the September 19 governorship election may lead to a declaration of emergency rule in the state, if not carefully managed.
The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, gave the warning during an interaction with heads of media organisations in Benin, the state capital.
Okoye said the commission was ready for the election but pleaded with the leadership of the political parties and their supporters to sheath their swords and maintain the peace for a hitch-free poll in the state.
He warned the political gladiators to conduct their campaigns within the ambit of the law.
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic had created an unusual electoral atmosphere never experienced before in the country.
He said: “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.”
The INEC official said if the commission was 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 added.
- BREAKING: 97 new cases of COVID-19 take Nigeria’s total to 57,242; death toll now 1,098 - September 20, 2020
- Trickytee, Ozo evicted from #BBNaija - September 20, 2020
- Ize-Iyamu thanks supporters, to unveil next plan - September 20, 2020