The decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to go ahead with Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State despite pressure from security agencies that the election be postponed, has received commendation from Nigerians and Civil Society Organizations.
A civil society group, the Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (Centre For Transparency Advocacy) said the news of INEC’s decision to go ahead with the election came as a relief.
The group in a statement signed by Executive Director, Dr. Chima Amadi frowned at what it described as underhand tactics by the security agencies to scuttle the election.
He wondered why the Police and SSS, will unilaterally call for the postponement of the elections without notifying INEC, the umpire, and in defiance of security arrangements put in place by the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security(ICCES), saying the action is quite condemnable.
He said, “It leaves one to wonder the kind of security information these agencies had that they could not share with INEC and the Police could not share with the Deputy Inspector General of Police who had earlier in the day represented the Inspector General of Police at a stakeholders meeting.
“This clear case of interference must not happen again and is a bad precedent capable of throwing the 2019 general elections into crises as different groups of persons will take up threatening peace during elections as a new strategy to hold the nation to ransom. A generic statement such as the advisory jointly issued by the Police and SSS is a real danger to democracy and should be probed by the Presidency as such a thing repeating during a general election is capable of throwing the entire country into turmoil.
“The redeployment of the Commissioner of Police of Edo State few days before the election remains an underhand tactics and is also suspect and raises a red flag on the transparency, independence, neutrality and ability of the Police to perform their constitutional role.
“We commend sister Civil Society Organizations that have already deployed to Edo State to stand firm with INEC and insist on free and fair elections. We also commend politicians and party leaders in Edo State who have remained peaceful and eschewed all forms of violence.”
He urged the Director General of SSS to diffuse this threat, as well as the Inspector General of Police to allow the already deployed twenty five thousand policemen to return to their duty posts and secure the electorate in Edo, Election duty staff, observers and indeed all Nigerian citizens in Edo State.