What Stakeholders Must Do To Avoid Political Logjam In Edo, Ondo Elections –INEC - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Friday, August 21, 2020

What Stakeholders Must Do To Avoid Political Logjam In Edo, Ondo Elections –INEC

BENIN - The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said yesterday that it is conducting the Edo and Ondo governorship elections and 15 outstanding bye-elections within the context of COVID-19 pandemic that has substantially altered the previous ways of doing things.

‎It explained that the two elections are end of tenure elections with strict and immovable constitutional and legal timelines that require that all stakeholders must conduct their activities in a manner that does not jeopardize the due and constitutional conduct.

Besides, INEC said it has also responded timely, creatively and innovatively to the pandemic by altering the modus operandi of conducting elections. Within this context, the Commission designed and released its Policy of Conducting Elections within the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The Commission has also introduced new innovations aimed at deepening the use of technology in the electoral process as well as guaranteeing added transparency in the electoral process. The Commission created a dedicated portal for party nomination processes and all the political parties that conducted party primaries in Edo and Ondo States transmitted the list and personal particulars of their candidates electronically. Domestic election observers applied for accreditation electronically through a dedicated portal and the media will also apply for accreditation through a dedicated portal”.

The Commission’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, stated this yesterday in Benin City while declaring open a workshop on Election Processes and Procedures organized by INEC for journalists in Edo State.

He explained that the Edo and Ondo elections were also being conducted in difficult circumstances and urged political parties and all the critical stakeholders in the electoral process to see the conduct of the elections as a national project that must be executed in strict compliance with all the safety protocols.

“There is no alternative to the peaceful conduct of these elections as the alternative will leave the people of the two states with a constitutional logjam that may be difficult to resolve. Political parties must eschew violence. Political Parties and their candidates must eschew the use of intemperate, inflammatory and base language designed to inflame passions or incite violence.

“On our part, we are determined and resolved to proceed with the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections and all the outstanding bye-elections. In doing so, the commission will not compromise the safety and welfare of its staff, ad-hoc staff as well as the voters. We will work closely with the security agencies to arrest threats and degrade acts of violence”, Okoye said.

The INEC National Commissioner said the media is an important and indispensable component of the democratic process and that the commission will continue its robust partnership with members of the Fourth estate of the realm as it seeks to consolidate Nigerian democracy.

He said the workshop is part of a series of measures put in place by the commission to engage all the critical stakeholders in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, adding that the commission is aware that it can only communicate effectively when the media understands and keys into its processes and procedures especially at this difficult period.

According to Okoye, partnership with the media is critical in the preparation and delivery of the commission’s messages and programmes to the Nigerian people, even as he implored journalists to take time and understand and understudy the powers of the commission within the context and ambit of the Constitution, the Electoral Act and the Regulations, Manuals and Guidelines in place for the smooth conduct of elections.

“We urge the media to be alive to its responsibility of holding public institutions and individuals accountable for their actions. The media must continue to name and shame those that dwarf the prestige and integrity of our country and bring the electoral process to disrepute”, he said, and commended the media for their support in previous elections, the support you are presently providing and the ones you will provide in future.

He added, “furthermore, the commission has deployed all the non-sensitive materials required for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections. The training of all categories of ad-hoc staff is in full gear and all the sensitive materials required for the conduct of the election will be delivered ahead of time.”

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