Yoruba groups urge postponement, CAN disagrees
INEC insists on holding election
The Oodua Renaissance Movement (ORM), has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the polls slated for Saturday.At an emergency meeting in Lagos, the group’s Convener, Gboyega Adeoye, said its call was based on the sensitivity of the election, in line with similar circumstance, which compelled it to shift the last election in Edo State.
Adeoye said the commission should be unbiased in the conduct of the election to tow the path of honour and allow for proper preparation among the contestants.
According to the group, the intra party battles that had characterised the contest make it mandatory that the polls be shifted.He said the situation had left no time for the candidates to sell their manifestoes to the electorate, adding that the people would have so much to lose under the present arrangement.
The convener said not less than 20 political parties had already signified interest in the postponement of the election, adding that going ahead with it would raise suspicion, which could lead to stiff reactions.
He said: “We are all aware of what happened during the last INEC conducted election in Edo State, where the election was postponed as a result of perceived security threat. The same INEC has maintained a double standard on the Ondo election, which to us is evil and should be discouraged.”
The group urged the electoral body to tread with caution and do the needful in the case, adding that extending the polls by three weeks would be better to allow a level playing field for all contestants.
“As we speak, the case between Jimoh Ibrahim and Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is just taking shape at the court.Also, the Yoruba Solidarity Forum, (YSF), has joined in the calls for postponement.
The General Secretary, Kasali Olaosebikan, warned of a dire consequence should the INEC go ahead with the election, without taking due cognisance of the lingering legal battles.
The YSC urged “the Federal government to, within 48 hours, order the INEC to postpone the dates of the election to allow for fair play and justice.Meanwhile, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, said at a stakeholders meeting in Akure yesterday that there was no legal ground to shift the polls.
Yakubu said the commission would adhere to any superior court order on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s dispute on the right governorship candidate.
He said: “The INEC has no plan to postpone the election this weekend. We are fully prepared, as we see no reason to activate the provision of Section 26 or Section 36 of the Electoral Act. Besides, here is no other ground in Law to postpone an election.”
Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has kicked against postponement of the election. The state Chairman, Rev. John Ayo Oladapo, told newsmen in Akure yesterday that there was no need for such postponement.
“I do not want to believe that an individual is more powerful than the entire state. But since justice must be done, let those in charge of the law interpret it accordingly and let the INEC do the needful.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has promised their readiness to maintain law and order in collaboration with other sister security agencies.
He said over 26,000 additional conventional police officers had been deployed in the state for the election.The IGP announced that movement would be restricted on the election day, while all the borders would be closed on November 25.