The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Wednesday walked back threat to stop the conduct of the September 19 governorship election, noting that a postponement will lead to constitutional crisis.
The commission also said that out of 14 items in the preparation for the governorship election, nine of them had been implemented.
The commission also justified why it deregistered some political parties, explaining that they had no verifiable addresses, with some of them traced to business centres.
Speaking at the Channels Television Morning Rise Programme, Wednesday, the INEC National Commissioner for Information and Chairman of Voter Education, Festus Okoye, assured that the September 19 governorship election will go ahead as planned as the political parties have complied with INEC’s notice over threats of violence.
According to Okoye, “INEC is progressively moving ahead with the September 19 Edo state governorship election. There are fourteen items for the election and nine of them have been implemented and non-sensitive materials have been deployed. We are proceeding with the election as planned.
“The political parties on their own are complying with the commission’s warning on violence and we have also observed a change from the threats of violence. So, we are moving ahead with the election”, Okoye stated.
According to the INEC National Commissioner, there would be a constitutional crisis, if the election is not conducted because section 178 (2) stated the timeline for the election to be conducted.
He explained that the Edo state governorship election must be conducted before October 13, or else, there would be a constitutional crisis.
He also said that the political parties were “pulling out of their threats of violence and INEC is therefore going ahead with the governorship election as planned”
Okoye who explained why some of the registered political parties were deregistered, said that in November 2019, that the commission wrote the political parties, but discovered that they had no verifiable addresses.
He said, “When INEC put a telephone call to their registered telephone numbers, we discovered that the telephone lines were ringing as telephone lines of some business centres and some of them have no verifiable office addresses.”
Okoye explained that most of the political parties were deregistered because they did meet the constitutional requirements of section 225(A), which states that any political party that did not score a 25 percent vote in one local government election, or 25 percent in any local government during a governorship election is a breach of the law.
Okoye said that the law states that it should be on votes scored by the political party and not the capacity to win votes, insisting that capacity to win votes is futuristic, while the extant laws is insisting on actual votes scored.
He denied knowledge that INEC deregistered some of the political parties in question despite court action for INEC not to do so.
Okoye also denied that INEC deregistered any political party that was in any tribunal challenging the outcome of any election. He said, “INEC allowed for a full circle of the tribunals to be finished before it commenced the deregistration processes of the defaulting political parties.
Specifically, the INEC National Commissioner said that there was no record before it that one of the deregistered political parties, the Kowa party, had any record of winning a councillor in any part of the country, explaining that the commission will make the necessary corrections, if presented a factual and verifiable evidence.