By – Praise Udugba
The Independent National Electoral Commission has vowed to protect the integrity of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10, 2020.
The commission said it would avoid a replay of what happened during the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States held on November 15, 2019.
While threatening that it would not make a declaration on the outcome of any disputed election due to lack of adherence to guiding rules, INEC stated that it had been dragged to court over 2,000 times in the last one and the half years over the conduct of the 2019 elections and party primaries.
The chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the warning during a virtual event on democracy and elections in West Africa, organised by the Washington DC-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development.
He said, “I had a meeting with the National Security Adviser, we are meeting with all the security agencies. But what pro-active measure is the commission going to take to ensure that if there is a replay of what happened in Bayelsa and Kogi? We will protect the integrity of the process.”
Yakubu said there would be no point making a declaration in such a situation because the commission would not endorse fraud or function outside the minimum standard set for the conduct of credible elections anywhere.
He warned political parties to “either behave for the elections to be concluded in a free and fair manner or we do what the law says.”
Yakubu said, “Where the election is disrupted and the commission cannot vouch for the integrity of the process, we will not go ahead to make any declaration.
While elections are disrupted, we should look far beyond the electoral commission. I think you put your fingers on the problem, on the political class, and the security challenges. And that is why we have been engaging with them.”