The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to meet with the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over threats to violence in the electioneering campaigns in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mohamud Yakubu who spoke after a meeting of stakeholders in Nasarawa central state constituency of Nasarawa State, preparatory to the Saturday’s bye-election, said the commission is concern over what is happening in Edo and Ondo States.
Prof. Yakubu said the commission is monitoring what is happening in the two states, and adding that INEC would call an urgent meeting of not only of the parties and candidates but also of the campaign councils.
“Whatever we need to do to stem the ugly violence or threat to it, particularly in Edo State, we will do it. We will continue to speak to stakeholders to ensure that there is no violence,” Prof. Yakubu said.
The INEC Chairman who led a team from the commission’s headquarters to assess the level of preparation for the August 8 Nasarawa bye-election, said the commission was ready for the election, which he said, would be used as test run for the conduct of election during coronavirus pandemic.
“It is an important election for us because this is the first election in the COVID-19 pandemic, and we deliberately chose to start with Nasarawa central state bye-election so that we can learn the vital lessons we need to learn ahead of Edo and Ondo governorship elections as well as 15 outstanding bye-elections,” he said.
Prof. Yakubu stated that the commission was satisfied with the assurance given by the stakeholders for a peaceful conduct.
“On our part, we are ready for the election. All the sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the election have been delivered. Very soon, the parties will be invited to inspect the materials. Two political parties will participate in the election, and we hope that the parties and the candidates are familiar with COVID-19 protocol,” the INEC Chairman stated.
He insisted on “no face mask, no voting,” but added that INEC “is not insisting on surgical face mask,” but any face covering by the voter during the election.
Emir of Nasarawa, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril, who welcomed the INEC team in his palace, assured that his subject would cooperate with the commission for the successful conduct of the election.
Leaders of the two political parties, Senator Walid Jiburin of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Hon. Mohammed Abdulmumuni of the All Progressives Congress (APC), assured of peaceful conduct of their members, but called for credible poll.
Police Area Commander for Nasarawa Area Command, ACP Fatai Kinyomi, who represented the Inspector General of Police, assured of adequate security during the election.
Kinyomi said a total of 500 operational policemen would be deployed for the election while other mobile policemen would be on ground as back-up.
The bye-election is as a result of the death of Suleiman Adamu who died of coronavirus illness.