The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has restated that there is no plan to postpone the 2019 general election.
The commission made this known in a press release by the chief press secretary of the chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi.
“Our attention has been drawn to a story with the headline – We May Shift 2019 Polls Over Threat Of Violence – INEC which appeared on the front page of a national newspaper today, but which did not correctly reflect what the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said at the meeting.
“It is thus clear that at no point during his remarks did the INEC Chairman allude to the notion that the Commission “may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence” as reported by the national newspaper. To be sure, INEC has no plan to postpone the 2019 General Elections.”
A newspaper (not INSIDE AREWA) had reported that INEC might shift the 2019 polls over threats of violence.
The publication quoted the national chairman to have said this at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting that took place at the commission’s headquarters on September 11.
The chairman told the security chiefs that with the 2019 general elections drawing close, the committee would need to meet more frequently to constantly assess the security situation across the country and take proactive actions to forestall any unpleasant event before, during and immediately after the elections.
He noted the fact that elections cannot be conducted under a rancorous atmosphere referring to Section 26 of the Electoral Act which, among others, gives the commission the power to postpone an election, “if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on (the fixed date)”, or as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies.
The commission said Mr Yakubu made this reference to the Electoral Act only to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections and to emphasise the synergy between the commission and security agencies.
He also noted that the most important assignment before the commission was the forthcoming Osun governorship election.
He said the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Osun State, Segun Agbaje, and Commissioner of Police for Osun State, Fimihan Adeoye, would brief the committee on the current situation and state of readiness for the governorship poll. Messrs Agbaje and Adeoye later briefed the audience.
Besides this, he spoke on the rising phenomenon of vote buying and selling and harped on the need for collaborative effort to decisively tackle the menace.
He said a code of conduct for security agents would be enforced during the elections.
The INEC chairman also seized the opportunity to draw the committee’s attention to a video clip making the rounds, in which some political actors were seen making inciting statements that could lead to serious security breaches.
He called on security agencies to be vigilant, just as he urged them to take immediate action on the development.