Edo, Ondo Gov Elections’ Dates Stand, Says INEC

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Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it was not considering postponing the scheduled governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.
The position of the commission was restated by its Director of Public Enlightenment and Voter Education, Mr. Oluwole Uzzi, in an interview with THISDAY.

“For now, the commission is not considering the postponement of the Edo and Ondo States governorship elections. The elections dates stand as announced by the commission,” he told THISDAY.
Uzzi said the commission would, however, be subject to the directives by health-related agencies on the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing: “For now, the dates for the governorship elections in the two states stand as announced by INEC.”

Before the lockdown, the commission had said that it was winding up its regular and non-essential activities at its Abuja Headquarters and across the states due to the global pandemic.
The commission had also announced September 19, 2020 and October 10, 2020 for Edo and Ondo States governorship elections respectively.

The commission had, however, postponed senatorial district elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Plateau States.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, had announced the postponement in Abuja.

He said the by-election, which included Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West senatorial districts; Imo North senatorial district and Plateau South senatorial district were postponed until the situation normalised.
In the timetable for the election activities for Edo State governorship election, INEC stated that conduct of primary election and resolution of disputes arising from primaries would be between June 2 to June 27 while campaign would kick start on June 21.

Also, INEC fixed September 17 for the end of campaign, stating that “Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides 90 days for the commencement of campaigns by political parties and end of same 24 hours before polling day.”

For Ondo State, the commission fixed July 2 to July 25 for the conduct of primary election and resolution of disputes arising from primaries “to enable political parties democratically nominate candidates for the election as required by Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010.”
The electoral commission fixed October 8 for the end of the campaign while the election would be on October 10.

However, there is apprehension that the outbreak of COVID-19 may affect the conduct of the governorship elections.
Though some observers affirmed that the pandemic would not affect the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC)’s plans to prepare and conduct the elections as scheduled, there was apprehension that INEC might be forced to alter the already released timetable for the governorship poll because of the pandemic.