• Friday, June 14, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Edo 2020: Violence, electoral malpractices may lead to constitutional crisis – INEC

Edo 2020: Violence, electoral malpractices may lead to constitutional crisis – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday warned against political violence and electoral malpractices in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, saying such would create a constitutional crisis that may be difficult to resolve.

Festus Okoye, national commissioner and chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, made the remark at a one-day sensitisation workshop for journalists on election processes and procedures in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

Okoye said only true collaborative efforts can get rid of vote buying in the country, adding that no political parties should be allowed to use violence, money and intimidation to truncate the will of the people.

“There is no alternative to the peaceful conduct of the September 19 governorship election because any alternative will leave the people of the state with a constitutional logjam that may be difficult to resolve,” he said.

He charged journalists to name and shame those political parties who intend to induce voters with material benefits before and during the governorship election in the state.

“The media must continue to name and shame those that undermine the prestige and integrity of our country and bring the electoral process to disrepute,” Okoye said.

“The media is an important and indispensable component of the democratic process and we will continue our robust partnership with members of the 4th estate of the realm as we seek to consolidate Nigerian democracy,” he added.

The national commissioner described the partnership with the media as critical in the preparation and delivery of the Commission’s messages and programmes to the Nigerian people.

He also appealed to media practitioners in the country to be more alive to their responsibility of holding public institutions and individuals accountable for their actions.

Okoye restated the commission’s determination and resolve to proceed with the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections and all the outstanding bye- elections in the country.

He assured that the commission will not compromise the safety and welfare of its staff, ad-hoc staff as well as the voters.

The INEC commissioner also assured of the commission’s readiness to work closely with the security agencies to ensure violence-free elections.

Earlier, Johnson Alalibo, Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, noted that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country has changed the narrative on the processes and procedures of conducting the election.

“As we are all aware, the September 19 governorship election is going to be the first election to be conducted under the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we have had a test run in a bye-election that took place in Nasarawa State two weeks ago,” he stated.