- INEC says contrary to reports, it has no plans to postpone the 2019 general elections over threats of violence
- An aide to the INEC boss said his principal only made reference to the Electoral Act to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections
- He said that at no point did the INEC chairman allude to the notion that the commission may shift the 2019 polls
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has no plan to postpone the 2019 general elections.
Rotimi Oyekanmi, the chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, made the clarification in a statement he issued in Abuja on Wednesday, September 12, NAN reports.
NAIJ.com gathers that Oyekanmi said the clarification became necessary following a story with the headline: 'We may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence - INEC.'
The publication, according to Oyekanmi, does not portray the correct reflection of what the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, September 11.
Oyekanmi said what Yakubu told the security chiefs at the meeting was that as the 2019 general elections drew close, the committee would need to meet more frequently.
This, according to him, is to constantly assess the security situation across the country and take proactive actions to forestall any unpleasant event before, during and after the elections.
“He underscored the fact that elections cannot be conducted under a rancorous atmosphere.
“He referred 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," Oyekanmi said.
He said Yakubu made the reference to the Electoral Act only to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections.
Oyekanmi also said that the INEC chairman’s reference was to emphasise the significance of the synergy between the commission and security agencies. He added that Yakubu also noted that the most important assignment before the commission was the Osun governorship election.
“INEC boss added that the Osun resident electoral commissioner, Segun Agbaje and commissioner of police in the state, Fimihan Adeoye, would brief the committee on the current situation in the state," he said.
The chief press secretary said that Yakubu said the two officers would also brief the committee on the readiness for the governorship poll, which he said that they did.
“Besides, Yakubu spoke on the rising phenomenon of vote buying and selling and harped on the need for collaborative effort to decisively tackle the menace and prevent it during the Osun governorship election.
“He said a code of conduct for security agents would be enforced during the elections and warned that any activity outside the confines of legality/ legitimacy will be viewed seriously," he said.
Oyekanmi said that the INEC chairman also seized the opportunity to draw the committee’s attention to a certain video clip.
According to him, in the video, some political actors were seen making inciteful statements that could lead to serious security breaches before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
He added that Yakubu also called on the relevant security agencies to be vigilant, just as he urged them to take immediate action on the development.
“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,” Oyekanmi said.
Recall that NAIJ.com previously reported that the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, allegedly hinted that the body might be forced to suspend the 2019 general election following threats to violence by some politicians in the country.
Yakubu reportedly stated this in reaction to some disturbing videos of political campaigns on social media, in which some politicians were seen threatening to shed blood.
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