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Edo/Ondo 2020: INEC won’t endorse fraud, says Yakubu

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Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Ahead of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned politicians against violence, insisting that it will not declare results where elections are disrupted.

Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu stated this while speaking at a virtual event on Democracy and Elections in West Africa, organised by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington DC in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).

Yakubu maintained that there would be no point declaring results in a situation where the electoral process is marred by violence, nothing that the commission will not endorse fraud or function outside the minimum standards set for the conduct of credible elections anywhere in the world.

He added the commission is committed is ensuring free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria

INEC had slated September 19, 2020 for the governorship election in Edo State while that of Ondo State was fixed for October 10, 2020

He noted: “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. You (political parties, politicians and voters) either behave for the elections to be concluded in a free and fair manner or we do what the law says.”

“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.

“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,” he added.

Addressing challenges the commission might face in conducting an election in a COVID-19 pandemic period, the INEC boss said with about 10 bye-elections to be conducted and over 6.2 million voters, the nation’s democracy cannot be truncated due to the virus, adding that proper measures have been put in place to contain the possible spread of COVID-19 among voters and officials.

On gender representation in politics, Yakubu regretted there is a zero turnout of female candidates for the scheduled elections.

He further assured that the commission will continue to engage with political parties on the importance of gender balance and the conduct of primaries by parties.

In her address, the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, called for sanctions against political parties and individuals who make efforts to jeopardize electoral systems in African countries.

She added that unruly behaviour by politicians and their supporters cannot be condoned.

Further addressing challenges the nation might experience in conducting these elections amid the Coronavirus pandemic which has ravaged the globe, Hassan said efforts must be made to ensure the process is free, fair and credible.

“The international community must support INEC in the procurement process to reduce cost, civic education must be delivered on adherence to the guidelines by voters and political party members.

“Punishing bad behaviour will be very very key, not just visa ban for them (politicians) and their children but making strong statements to prevent any form of violence during these elections.”


In this article:
EdoINECMahmood YakubuOndo
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