EDO 2020: We are not Sure of Elections – INEC

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Edo 2020 Governorship Election that has been slated to kick start in June may not hold after all.

This position was made known earlier today by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The eventual shift has been blamed on the rampaging Coronavirus.

The Commission explained that it may be constrained to adjust the timetable and schedule of activities of the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections “due to the crippling challenges Coronavirus pandemic posed on the country.”

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, disclosed this in Abuja while informing Political Parties’, Civil Society Groups and Organizations that most of the nominations and accreditations shall be done online given the challenges of the deadly virus.

He added that INEC will rely on the constitutional empowerment to adjust the electoral timetable and schedule of activities for the two governorship elections within constitutionally permissible window.

“The Commission will therefore continue to prepare for both elections (Edo and Ondo) within the existing timetable but reserves the right to adjust the timetable within the constitutionally permissible window given the current challenges and realities of COVID-19.

“With the lockdown of most of the states of the federation and the closure of state boundaries, the pandemic has impacted and will definitely continue to impact on the preparations and activities of the Commission for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.

“The country is engaged in existential war and this war threatens the sovereign right of the Nigerian people to vote. Only living human beings approach the polling units for accreditation and voting. Therefore, we need national unity and solidarity to defeat this invisible enemy of humanity,” he stated.

“On February 6, 2020, INEC released an adjustable timetable and schedule of activities for the conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.

“By the said timetable, the Edo governorship election will take place on September 19, 2020 and that of Ondo State on October 10, 2020.

“As at February 6, 2020 when the Commission released the timetable for both elections, the impact, magnitude and far reaching implications of the COVID-19 pandemic had not really manifested.

“By section 178(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended) and section 25(7) & (8) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended) an election to the office of governor of a State shall be held on a date not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of the office.

“Constitutionally, the tenure of the governor of Edo State expires on November 11, 2020 and that of Ondo State expires on February 23, 2021.

“By necessary constitutional implication, the earliest date for election into the office of governor of Edo, shall be June 15, 2020 and the latest date for the election shall be October 13, 2020.

“In the same vein, the earliest date for the election into the office of governor, Ondo shall be September 27, 2020 and the latest date shall be January 25, 2021.

“The implication of the constitutional provision is that the Commission can adjust the electoral timetable and schedule of activities for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections within the constitutionally permissible window.

“In other words, the Commission is permitted to rework the timetable but the Edo governorship election must be held and results declared before October 13, 2020 while that of Ondo State must be held and results declared before January 25, 2021,” Okoye explained.

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