The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has reaffirmed its decision to go ahead with the gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Disclosing this to journalists, the National Commissioner in charge of Voters’ Education and Information, Mr Festus Okoye, said that the commission had not met to discuss a possible shift in the dates announced for the elections.
Earlier, the electoral body announced September 19, 2020, for the Edo State election while that of Ondo State was scheduled to hold on October 10, 2020.
The commission wishes to inform the general public that no decision has been taken to postpone the Edo and Ondo governorship elections or adjust the timetable and schedule of activities for the said elections scheduled for September 19 and October 10, 2020, respectively.
It will be recalled that the commission on February 6, 2020, released the timetable and schedule of activities for the two elections. Since then, the timetable has not been adjusted. While we are mindful of the negative impact of the Coronavirus disease, we are also monitoring the various efforts by the federal and state governments’ health authorities and other stakeholders to contain the spread of and eliminate COVlD-l9.
If and when the need arises to adjust the timetable for the elections, same will be conveyed to the public in the usual manner. In the meantime, we will continue to study the situation carefully and cooperate with other stakeholders in the battle against COVID-19.
According to the timetable released for the Edo governorship election, INEC stated that the conduct of primary election and resolution of disputes from primaries would be between 2nd of June to 27th of June while campaign would commence on June 21.
The Commission, while also fixing September 17 for the end of the campaign, stated that:
Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides 90 days for the commencement of campaigns by political parties and end of same 24 hours before polling day.
Meanwhile, the Commission announced that primary election and resolution of disputes arising from primaries would hold between July 2 and 25 “to enable political parties democratically nominate candidates for the election as required by Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010.”
INEC, it was learnt fixed October 8, for the end of the campaign while the election would hold on October 10.
The Electoral Commission’s position is coming at a time when there are insinuations that the outbreak of COVID-19 may affect the conduct of the election in both states.