The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday denied any plan to postpone the 2019 general elections.
A statement by INEC Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Oyekanmi debunked reports saying “We May Shift 2019 Polls Over Threat Of Violence – INEC “, he said that the chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu was quoted wrongly at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting that took place at the Commission’s headquarters on September 11, 2018.
“It is common knowledge that the Osun State governorship election will hold on Saturday 22nd September, while the 2019 General Elections are only 156 days away”.
The statement explained that the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security meeting, which takes place on regularly, quarterly basis, provides avenue for INEC and security agencies to evaluate and discuss the country’s security situation, with the aim of putting the necessary measures in place to enable the Commission to carry out its mandate.
Mr Oyekanmi noted that the INEC boss during the meeting told the security chiefs that with the 2019 general elections drawing close, the Committee would need to meet more frequently to constantly assess the security situation across the country and take proactive actions to forestall any unpleasant event before, during and immediately after the elections.
He underscored the fact that elections cannot be conducted under a rancorous atmosphere.
It said the INEC Boss referred to Section 26 of the Electoral Act which, among others, gives the Commission the power to postpone an election “if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur and the election is proceeded with on (the fixed date)”, or as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies”.
According to him, Prof. Yakubu made the reference to the Electoral Act only to emphasise the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections, and the significance of the synergy between the commission and security agencies.
The statement said he mentioned that the most important assignment before the Commission was the Osun governorship election, noting that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Osun State, Mr Segun Agbaje and Commissioner of Police for Osun state, Mr Fimihan Adeoye would brief the Committee on the current situation and state of readiness for the governorship poll. (Both Agbaje and Adeoye later briefed the audience).