The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned that postponing the Edo and Ondo states governorship polls and other bye-elections would throw Nigeria into a constitutional crisis.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of INEC, who raised the red flag at the commission’s first virtual consultative meeting with media organisations, yesterday, however, reassured the election umpire would continue to adopt and implement measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s electoral activities.
“The commission is, therefore, determined to proceed with the two end of tenure governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states and 10 senatorial and state Assembly elections with cautious optimism 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. This existential threat has therefore caused major disruption in public life which has led to a rethink of the way we administer elections and the processes connected therewith,” he said.
Yakubu 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.
“The commission believes that your opinions and suggestions will be of immense benefit to our electoral activities. The commission, therefore, values your contributions to policy formulation and implementation,” he said.
Yakubu said COVID-19 pandemic had necessitated a rethink of many activities that had been taken for granted”