CSOs Say Advice to Postpone Edo Election Unconstitutional

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By Tobi Soniyi

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) comprising more than 70 Civil Society Organisations that are already  in Benin-City to observe the Edo governorship election has expressed disappointment at the attempt by security outfits to put off the poll.

In a statement, ‎ Situation Room said the advice by the Nigeria Police and the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the Edo Governorship election scheduled for Saturday, 10 September 2016 was unconstitutional.

‎It called on the people of Edo State to remain calm and vigilant and be ready to protect their constitutional rights to vote.

The statement ‎reads: “Situation Room considers this advice as a gratuitous and unconstitutional interference in the independence of INEC.

“The advice is in clear violation of S.160 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which forbids any person or authority from giving directives or seeking to control INEC – it being an independent body.

“It is surprising that the Police and DSS who are part of the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Elections Security (ICCES) together with INEC, did not formally brief INEC before issuing this contentious statement, to enable all key stakeholders review whatever security challenges the security services may claim to have arisen.

“The  ‘advice’ by these security agencies has undermined public confidence in the conduct of the Edo State Governorship poll.

“INEC now faces a more challenging task of assuring all parties that a revised poll can be properly organized within a constitutionally stipulated timeframe.”