Okodili Ndidi, Abuja
There are palpable fears that the Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled to hold on September 19 and October 10, respectively may not hold following the Coronavirus pandemic.
There are strong insinuations that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may alter the dates of the elections except the current health challenges improve.
The suspicion was heightened after the Commission shifted the Senatorial bye-elections for Bayelsa, Imo and Plateau States as a result of the pandemic.
But INEC dismissed the insinuations, insisting that the Edo and Ondo governorship elections will go ahead as scheduled.
National Commissioner and Chairman Voters’ Education and Information Committee, Festus Okoye, said, “the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not contemplating, planning or thinking of shifting, postponing or on anyway tampering with or adjusting the timetable and timelines for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections.
“The Commission is confident that the health authorities and the Nigerian people will contain and overcome its present health emergency before the commencement of major activities relating to the conduct of the Edo and Ondo Governorship elections scheduled for 19th September and 10th October 2020.”
He continued that, “the two major activities in Edo and Ondo States that involves a large congregation of persons will commence in June 2020. The conduct of Party Primaries in Edo State will start on the June 2 and end on June 27, 2020 while the commencement of campaign by political parties in public will start on June 21, 2020. For Ondo Governorship election, the conduct of Party Primaries will start on July 2 and end on the July 27, 2020 while campaigns by Political Parties will commence on July 13, 2020.
“We are confident that the nation will contain and possibly overcome its present health challenges even before the issuance of the statutory notice of elections for Edo Governorship election on the 1st day of June and that of Ondo on July 1, 2020.
“The conduct of the two elections are constitutionally circumscribed with inbuilt mechanism for adjustment within the confines and ambit of the constitutionally circumscribes timeframes.
“We assure the nation that the processes and procedures for the conduct of the two Governorship elections are on course and there is no cause for any form of anxiety. The Commission is not thinking of or contemplating any shift or postponement of the two elections”.