INEC was a confused figure this week. It explains why.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cut a confused figure this week as the agency first insisted it wouldn’t be “teleguided” on the Edo governorship election; before going back on its word and announcing a postponement of the exercise.
The security agencies had advised the election umpire to reschedule the vote, initially slated for Saturday September 10.
But INEC baulked at the suggestion, saying it had attained 97 percent readiness and that the election will go on as scheduled.
The commission walked back its earlier resolve at dusk on Thursday; announcing that the Edo governorship election will now hold on September 28.
INEC spokesperson, Nick Dazang, told online newspaper Premium Times that the electoral body was left with no choice after the security agencies had put forward their case.
“It was only as at this evening that we were officially communicated and they explained to us the challenges they had that would affect their capacity to secure the election,” he said.
“Before then, we were hearing just like any other person from the media that they were advising us to postpone. And as a responsible organisation, we did not think there was any way we could proceed on that basis”, Dazang said.
Dazang said the commission first learned of the security advice like everyone else.
“Don’t forget that the story started trending that we were advised to postpone the election as we were conducting the stakeholder forum in Benin.
“The Police and the SSS were represented there, at the highest level. The DIG operations represented the IG and he was telling the stakeholders, in the full glare of reporters, that they would secure the environment for the election.
“That was the reason for the initial stand. Those that gave the assurance were far higher than those who issued the statement. So if the IG is saying one thing and a much lower person is saying another, who should we follow?” he asked.
Dazang added that the security agencies “explained that going ahead with the election would over stretch them and that given the situation, it was crucial for them to ensure the protection of voters, as well as our staff.
“You know we are not in a position to secure our staff. And we do not want to put them in harm’s way,” he said.