Play by the Rules, INEC Tells Political Parties Ahead of Edo and Ondo Governorship Election

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has emphasized the importance of peaceful and democratic electoral processes, and warned Political parties against the use of violence to gain an advantage in the forthcoming governorship election.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave the advice at a meeting with leaders of political parties and members of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) on Saturday in Benin.

He said that only the people of Edo would determine who becomes their next governor and INEC would protect their choices.

Yakubu said he was in the state to assess the impact of May 24 flood on the commission’s head office in Edo as well to monitor the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CRV).

He, however, said upon his arrival in Edo the commission heard a few complaints and stories that wee not encouraging, in spite the peaceful commencement of campaign in the state.

He said that INEC had started seeing some snippets , and was not happy with the reports from Idiya College of Oredo Ward 4 and complaints from Owan West.

He urged leaders of parties to keep the peace of the state as demonstrated in 2016 and 2020 when there were tension, but the elections were still conducted peacefully.

“I want to remind you that this commission in particular has had a long standing experience in handling governorship elections in Edo state.

“This is going to be our third governorship election in Edo state. I was here in 2016 ahead of the 2016 ahead of the governorship election.

“I was here nearly four years ago in 2020 ahead of the last governorship election, and I’m here again ahead of the forthcoming governorship election.

“However, I must commend political parties so far, that the build up to the 2024 governorship election in Edo state has so far been the most peaceful.

“I know what went through in 2016, in fact the election had to be postponed, and I also know what happened in 2020, it was as if the world was coming to an end in Edo state.

“But you will also agree with me that in the aftermath of the governorship election, citizens of Nigeria in Edo state started dancing on the streets over the professional manner with which the election was conducted.

“INEC has no candidate in this election, we are not a political party. The last two elections were actually won by two different political parties. So the next election will actually be won by one of you sitting there,” he said.

 Yakubu urged party leaders in the state to go beyond mobilising supporter for voters’ registration, but also for the collection of their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

“We have literally over two hundred thousand uncollected PVCs in Edo state. These are for persons who have already registered. What is standing between them and voting is just to pick up the PVCs,” he said.

 The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Anugbum Onuoha, said that the meeting was called because of the happenings in the state especially security matters.

“Some of our centers have been affected by the shooting, and some of our staff have been affected by these unfortunate incidences.

“It is important that we interact with the security agencies to see how we can provide a solution to this,” Onuoha said.

On his part the state Commissioner of Police (CP), Funsho Adeboye, assured all political parties of enabling environment without fare or favour.

“Some of you said that we have been planted here. I don’t know by who, and for what. I want to say it again, nobody has planted anybody to do something or anything that is against the law.

“Please make our job very easy. Please play the game according to the rules. INEC which is the umpire has set the rules, we all know it.

“There is no need for police officers to be carrying guns on election day. I feel bad each time we do that, but we have to do it.

“I wish we can do without arms during the campaigns, during the election and after the elections,” Adebayo said.

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