The Independent National Electoral Commission has explained why it is brushing aside security advisory from the police and State Security Service, to continue with Saturday’s Edo governorship election.The commission said it would not be “teleguided” and “would not do anything that would mortgage Nigeria’s democracy”.
It said the cost of demobilising, after reaching at least 97 per cent readiness level, would be immense.
The police and the SSS had released a joint statement on Wednesday seeking postponement of the election for security concerns.
“The Nigeria Police and Department of State Services wish to inform the general public that credible intelligence availed the agencies indicate plans by insurgent/extremist elements to attack vulnerable communities and soft targets with high population during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations between 12th and 13th September, 2016. Edo State, is amongst the States being earmarked for these planned attacks by the extremist elements,” said the Police and the SSS through a statement by their respective spokespersons, Don Awunah and Garba Abdullahi.
“It is in regard of these that we are appealing to INEC which has the legal duty to regulate elections in the country to consider the need for possible postponement of the date of the election in Edo State in order to enable security agencies deal decisively with the envisaged terrorist threats.”
But the electoral body said after carefully weighing all the consequences and parameters of postponing the election, it chose to go ahead.
Addressing journalists at the Edo State office of the Commission Thursday afternoon, the National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity Committee of INEC, Solomon Soyebi, said the Commission had reached not less than 97 per cent level of preparation for the conduct of the election.
Mr. Soyebi stressed that the Commission would not be teleguided and that it would not do anything that would mortgage Nigeria’s democracy.
He emphasized that the Commission considered the implications of demobilizing and arrived at the fact that it was more expensive to do so.
The Edo election is expected to be strongly fought between the candidate of the incumbent governing All Progressives Congress, Godwin Obaseki, and his PDP challenger, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The Peoples Democratic Party condemned the request for postponement, saying it was bizzare and shocking.