The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has stated that further shift of the Edo governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would not augur well for the electoral process.
CDHR president, Malachy Ugwummadu, on Tuesday said INEC’s postponement of the polls from Saturday, September 10 to Wednesday September 28 affected the logistics of civil society organizations as well as local and international observer groups.
The group was reacting to calls by stakeholders, including the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), to further shift the election because it would clash with the 2016 November/December West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in the state.
CDHR said: “In terms of cost in the entire logistics of this exercise, this postponement is a total disaster and waste for INEC itself, the political parties that have mobilised, the civil society organizations and observer groups both local and international who have mobilised but have to demobilize.”
Noting that INEC had the “discretion and prerogative” to postpone an already scheduled gubernatorial election pursuant to Section 26 (1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2010, Ugwummadu warned INEC not to entertain another “insecurity” excuse.
“One of such conditions upon which it can be postponed is insecurity. Thus, if the foremost security agencies i.e. police & DSS have raised security concerns, it is for the Commission to ascertain that the grounds given are both verifiable and cogent as provided for S.26(1)of the EA.
“However, the timing and circumstances of the present postponement leaves much to be desired. INEC through its representative in Edo State had granted an interview saying that the election would go on.
“Thus, what are the specific variables that have changed? The integrity of an election is also measured by certainty level of the process.
“What is the assurance that another security situation will not be cited in a fortnight when it has been postponed to within which time it cannot be further postponed in view of the constitution,” CDHR quipped.