The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned warring politicians in Edo and Ondo states not to capitalise on the release of the time table for the governorship election to further escalate tension in the states.
The commission advised that no one should see the disclosure of the election dates as a signal to commence the recruitment and arming of thugs and hoodlums ahead the elections.
INEC National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, gave the warning during a press conference to announce the dates for the elections which were fixed for September 19 for Edo State and October 10 for Ondo State.
The commission’s concern may not be unconnected to the escalating political tension in Edo State, where the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki is locked in a fierce battle with his predecessor and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.
According to Yakubu, “already, the political atmosphere in a particular state is charged. No one should regard the release of the timetable for the elections as a signal to further escalate tension or a call to commence the recruitment of goons and arming of thugs and hoodlums.”
He added, “On this note, let me reiterate the resolve the commission to stand firm against acts capable of disrupting the elections.
“As we are all aware, election is a process. However, the process does not begin and end with Election Day activities. The conduct of party primaries, nomination of candidates, electioneering campaigns and the submission of the list of polling agents are also essential to the electoral process. Above all, good behaviour by all officials and actors involved is crucial for success.
“I wish to remind all parties and candidates that violence during party primaries and electioneering campaigns, the snatching of election materials or the deployment of thugs against INEC officials, observers, the media and unarmed security personnel at polling units are acts punishable under our electoral laws.”