By Awharitoma Abavo, Benin
Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman
The Independent Electoral Commission [INEC] seemingly has been caught in the web of indecision when it convened emergency meeting of stakeholders Wednesday evening in Benin to seek advice on the way forward as regards Saturday election in Edo following security agencies’ unfavorable report.
Chairman of the electoral body, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu leading other Commissioners of the agency told the gathering that they received news of insecurity threat from the security agencies and that it may be dangerous to go on with the scheduled Saturday, September 10 governorship election in the State.
He consequently sampled stakeholders’ opinion which was majorly not in support of the thinking of a postponement for whatever reason.
Various speakers had expressed worry over the sudden development and questioned the authenticity of the report.
They said there was no sign of security threat anywhere in the state corroborating the report which they suspect was from mundane quarters orchestrated to manipulate the electoral process in their favour. Hence it would be disappointing and unfortunate for the Commission to contemplate postponing the election let alone actualizing it, they said.
They pointed out that under the leadership of Mahmood, the INEC had recorded inconclusive elections in the states of Kogi and Bayelsa therefore he should not allow himself to be used to again occasion another inconclusive election in Edo, they advised.
It will be important that he uses the Edo election to redeem his name and reputation which they alleged some vested interests for their selfish gains are working to rubbish.
Chairman, Edo State PDP, Chief Dan Orbih in reaction said; “We advise the Chairman [INEC] that if your independence is compromised, the right thing to do, is to resign.
“We are watching events and I believe politicians across the political divide should see this as a challenge. We must rescue democracy. Democracy is under serious threat with what we are seeing in Edo State.”
Orbih asserted that the PDP however is prepared to go into the election anytime; any day as the ruling All Progressives Congress [APC] will not escape defeat.
PDP candidate, Pst. Ize Iyamu Osagie in contribution said, if INEC left the people whose mind were already made about the date of the election unsure of when it will hold, then its credibility would have been eroded. Therefore INEC must quickly commune with the security agencies and take a decision as soon as possible, he added.
Mahmood in response promised that INEC would not disappoint the electorate as it goes into consultation with those in charge of security matters to appraise the situation towards taking a decision on the way forward.
With the development, the opposition is already saying that the ruling APC is afraid of imminent defeat and was looking for a way out accusing it of manipulating the process.
Earlier in the day during a stakeholders’ meeting, the electoral agency had said that it was fully mobilized for the Saturday election and that there was no going back.
This was even when issues of the West Africa Examination Council [WAEC] Mathematics paper scheduled to hold same day and effects of the election on students involved, were raised.
INEC had said the examination was not enough reason to postpone the election