The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied insinuation in certain quarters that it may shift the 2019 general elections.
Faulting a newspaper story that the polls may be shifted over threat of violence, the Commission in a statement made available on Wednesday by Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, said the story did not correctly reflect what INEC Chairman,
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting that took place at the Commission’s headquarters on September 11, 2018.
Oyekanmi said the INEC boss had told the security chiefs that with the 2019 general elections drawing close, the Committee would need to meet more frequently to constantly assess the security situation across the country and take proactive actions to forestall any unpleasant event before, during and immediately after the elections.
According to him, the chairman underscored the fact that elections cannot be conducted under a rancorous atmosphere.
Oyekanmi said, “ He (INEC Chairman) referred to Section 26 of the Electoral Act which, among others, gives the Commission the power to postpone an election “if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on (the fixed date)”, or as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies.
“Prof. Yakubu made this reference to the Electoral Act only to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections and to emphasize the significance of the synergy between the Commission and security agencies.
“He also noted that the most important assignment before the Commission was the Osun governorship election, adding the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Osun State, Mr. Segun Agbaje and Commissioner of Police, Osun State Command,
Mr. Fimihan Adeoye, would brief the Committee on the current situation and state of readiness for the governorship poll. (Both Agbaje and Adeoye later briefed the audience), clarified the spokesman.
In addition, he said the INEC Chairman also seized the opportunity to draw the Committee’s attention to a video clip making the rounds, in which some political actors were seen making inciteful statements that could lead to serious security breaches before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
He called on the relevant security agencies to be vigilant, just as he urged them to take immediate action on the development.
“It is thus clear that at no point during his remarks did the INEC Chairman allude to the notion that the Commission “may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence” as reported by the national newspaper, Oyekanmi added.