• Worries about the inconclusive pattern
Although not official, there are strong indications that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may postpone the Edo State governorship election earlier scheduled for September 10, if the Muslim Sallah celebration falls on the date this year.
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who hinted at this on Wednesday night during an interactive session with journalists in Benin, the Edo State capital, said the possibility of a postponement was almost inevitable if the facts before him were correct.
In similar breath, Ize-Iyamu also expressed worry about the present leadership of INEC, especially its penchant for conducting inconclusive elections, saying such a possibility constitutes huge burden on the candidates and their parties because whether or not anyone likes it, elections cost a lot of money.
He said the information which had been deliberately concealed by the ruling party for strategic reasons was however leaked to him by some members of the other camp (the ruling All Progressives Congress), who believe in his ambition and had pretended to be unaware of it too, albeit for strategic reasons.
According to him, the main reason the possibility of a shift in date is being kept secret by the ruling party was because they wanted the PDP and its candidate to outspend themselves before the announcement, by which time raising more money ahead of the new date would have been a bit difficult.
“There is the possibility that INEC may postpone the election from September 10. Although this is not official, we have it on good authority that the date may coincide with this year’s Muslim Salah and if that is true, the postponement might be inevitable. But no one has mentioned or communicated this to us yet.
“But we have it on good authority that the other side already knows about the development and are trying as much as possible to conceal it from us, so that by the time the postponement is announced, we would have outspent ourselves and you know what that means,” he said.
The pastor-turned politician, who claimed the Governor Adams Oshiomhole camp cannot afford to underrate his ability to source information as well as penetrate the system, said his fears about the nature of inconclusive elections by the INEC leadership was not borne out of sheer malice but a function of the facts before the public.
“I worry about the nature of inconclusive polls,” he said, arguing that it is not convenient for any candidate, who had put in so much for an election, only to have such an exercise declared inconclusive with another date fixed for the concluding part, saying such a decision weighs heavily on the logistics of the parties and their candidates.
He, however, absolved President Muhammadu Buhari of any involvement in the running of INEC, saying Oshiomhole only enjoys name-dropping, where clearly the president has stayed away from what could blemish his name or record of neutrality in the political process.
Ize-Iyamu, who expressed confidence in his ability to win the September 10 governorship election (if not postponed) noted that the governor and the APC camp are already jittery because they know his ability and what he is capable of accomplishing politically, hence, the resort to name-calling and character debate.