INEC Makes Last Minute U Turn, Reschedules Edo Guber Poll To Sept 28
Drama and high level political intrigues Thursday trailed the last minute decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to shift the September 10 governorship election in Edo State to the 28th.
The surprise U-turn announcement, however, elicited wild reactions and anger in the camps of some of the participating political parties and their candidates.
The INEC chairman represented by the Commission’s National Commissioner, (Voter Education and Publicity) Prince Solomon Soyebi said the governorship election in Edo State will now be held on Wednesday September 28, 2016 in the state.
Incidentally, INEC had earlier in the day insisted in going ahead with the poll, despite advise from security outfits, notably the police and Department of State Services, to shift the pool due to feelers indicating that there might be major incident in the state.
However, the INEC spokesman said the Commission suspended the conduct of the polls on grounds of last minute reminder of terror alert by the police and DSS high commands in Abuja.
Soyebi said: “At about 6pm today (Thursday), the commission received official communication from the police and DSS drawing its attention to the need to postpone the Edo Governorship elections. Such a postponement, the communication indicates, is necessary in view of threats of terrorists activities in Edo and other states of the federation during the election and over the Sallah period.”
He pointed out that “The deployment of security personnel countrywide to secure lives and property would overstretch their capacity to at the same time provide adequate security for the elections”
“Consequently, the commission notes the request of the security agencies and, considering the security implications of proceeding with the election, the safety of eligible voters, electoral officials, including ad hoc staff, and other stakeholders, has decided to reschedule the Edo Governorship election to Wednesday, 28th September 2016,” he stated.
The INEC therefore “enjoins all eligible voters in Dxo state, politicians and other stakeholders to be peaceful and law abiding”
Hordes of accredited international and national observers including security operatives Thursday night besieged the Commission’s headquarters on the busy Benin-Aduwawa-Auchi-Anuja road in Benin the state capital.
Meanwhile, Governor Adams Oshiomhole Thursday night kicked against the postponement of the governorship election for two weeks or more.
Oshiomhole said the election could be postponed for one week because of the planned coronation of the Oba of Benin that has been fixed for September 26.
Speaking on a television programme, Governor Oshiomhole said the Oba’s coronation is a big event which every Edo man celebrates and has a role to play.
He said, “We have a big event in Edo on September 26 which is the Oba’s coronation. Before that day, there are other events that must be done. It will not be proper to hold election during that period.
He queried “Why not postpone the election for one week?”