* Agencies say they can’t guarantee security
By Olawale Olaleye
Citing constitutional breach, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected in totality the advice given by the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Police to shelve the Edo State governorship election slated for this weekend, Saturday, September 10.
It was however gathered that the Police and the DSS are adamant, threatening that they won’t provide security for the conduct of the election.
Rising from a meeting in Benin, Edo State, INEC said after reviewing the grounds for the Police and DSS advice and placed it side-by-side with its own standing currently, it is convinced that going ahead with the election was its best bet and therefore rejected the advice to shelve the poll over an alleged terror threat.
According to the commission, mobilisation for the election was already 90 per cent and above.
“To demobilise and remobilise could lead to constitutional breach”, it stated, a situation it said it was not ready to contend with, knowing full well that it saw it already coming.
INEC’s Commissioner for Publicity, Adedeji Soyebi Solomon, however confirmed the development in a statement, saying INEC would go ahead with the elections as planned. “We have decided to go ahead. Advice rejected,” he said.
The DSS and the police had after a closed-door meeting yesterday at the behest of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris and his DSS counterpart, Mr. Lawal Musa Daura, in Abuja, advised INEC to postpone the election over alleged terror threat.
A joint statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer (PRO), DCP Don Awunah, and Mr. Garba Abdullahi of the DSS, informed the general public that credible intelligence availed the agencies indicated plans by insurgent/extremist elements to attack vulnerable communities and soft targets with high population during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations between 12th and 13th of September, 2016, adding that Edo State was amongst the States earmarked for attacks by the extremists.
But immediately the news hit the airwaves, INEC too came out to deny knowledge of the development and hinted also that the best thing to do in that instance was to go ahead with the election. But in addition to that, INEC also resolved to meet today to further review the situation and after a meeting of its men, the electoral body rejected the security advice and said it would run with its timetable.