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We will withdraw from Edo election if there’s verifiable threat to peace – INEC warns APC, PDP

INEC at Thursday's press briefing

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that it would stop the announcement of results in the forthcoming Edo Governorship Election if there was violence.

The electoral umpire noted that it would withdraw from the exercise even if election had already started.

“The commission reviewed the conduct of political parties and the candidates in Edo and Ondo States and reminded them of the need to play by the rules of the game. The commission advised political parties to pay attention to the dangers of violence and the use of incendiary statements on the electoral process.

“The commission made it clear that it will not conduct elections in a violent environment and will withdraw and not announce any results if there are cogent and verifiable threats to its officials and the voters.”

This was stated by Festus Okoye, INEC Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, during an interview with Punch.

Mr. Okoye also reacted to questions on whether INEC would consider shifting the election if violence escalates before the election?

“The commission is committed and determined to conduct the elections within the constitutionally allowed period but the parties must not cuddle violence and engage in acts aimed at undermining the electoral process and expect a soft landing from the commission. We are a regulatory body and those being regulated must obey the rules and procedures for campaigns and rallies.

“The commission cannot shift the Edo governorship election beyond October 10, 2020. If the election is disrupted and the commission is unable to deploy on September 19 2020, millions spent on printing of ballot papers, result sheets, payment of allowances for ad-hoc staff, hiring of vehicles and other sundry expenses will go down the drains.

“Disruption of the election will put unnecessary pressure on the commission relating to the time for the possible conduct of a second election. Disruption may throw the timelines for the conduct of elections out of gear and there will be constitutional crisis in Edo State,” Mr. Okoye said.

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