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Elections: INEC frets over violence threat

…to parley parties, campaign councils on Edo, Ondo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concerns over threats of violence in the electioneering in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
To this effect, the commission said it would summon emergency meeting with the political parties participating in the elections and their candidates as well as their campaign councils.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mohamud Yakubu, who spoke after a stakeholders’ meeting in Nasarawa town, Nasarawa State in preparation for this Saturday’s Nasarawa central state constituency election, did not give date for the meeting.
“We are carefully monitoring what is happening in Edo and also Ondo. The commission is meeting on Thursday, but given the urgency of what is happening, particularly in Edo State, we need to call a meeting immediately, not only of the parties and candidates, but also of the campaign councils.
“Whatever we need to do to stem the ugly violence or threat to it, particularly in Edo State, we will do it. We will continue to speak to stakeholders to ensure that there is no violence,” Yakubu said.
The INEC Chairman, who led a team from the commission’s headquarters to assess the level of preparation for the August 8 Nasarawa by-election, said the commission was ready for the election, which, he said, would be used as test run for the conduct of election during coronavirus pandemic.
“It is an important election for us because this is the first election in the COVID-19 pandemic, and we deliberately chose to start with Nasarawa central state by-election so that we can learn the vital lessons we need to learn ahead of Edo and Ondo governorship elections as well as 15 outstanding by-elections,” he said.
Yakubu stated that the commission was satisfied with the assurance given by the stakeholders for a peaceful conduct.
“On our part, we are ready for the election. All the sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the election have been delivered. Very soon, the parties will be invited to inspect the materials.
“Two political parties will participate in the election, and we hope that the parties and the candidates are familiar with COVID-19 protocol,” the INEC chairman stated.
He insisted on “no face mask, no voting,” but added that INEC “is not insisting on surgical face mask,” but any face covering by the voter during the election.
Emir of Nasarawa, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril, who welcomed the INEC team in his palace, assured that his subject would cooperate with the commission for the successful conduct of the election.
Leaders of the two political parties, Senator Walid Jiburin of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Hon. Mohammed Abdulmumuni of the All Progressives Congress (APC), assured of peaceful conduct of their members, but called for credible poll.
Police Area Commander for Nasarawa Area Command, ACP Fatai Kinyomi, who represented the Inspector General of Police, assured of adequate security during the election.
Kinyomi said a total of 500 operational policemen would be deployed for the election while other mobile policemen would be on ground as back-up.
The by-election is as a result of the death of Hon. Suleiman Adamu, a member of the House of Assembly, who died of coronavirus illness.

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