- INEC has said it cannot postpone the Ondo and Edo governorship elections despite the coronavirus pandemic
- The spokesman for INEC, Festus Okoye, said the commission could lose its right to fix election dates going forward if it fails to conduct the elections
- Okoye explained that the 1999 constitution provides a deadline for INEC to conduct elections within a constitutional time frame
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Following the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that it will not postpone the Edo and Ondo state guber elections.
This was revealed by Festus Okoye, a spokesperson to the commission in an interview on ARISE TV, on Monday, May 11.
Okoye speaking on reasons why the polls can't be postponed said it could make the commission lose the right to pick the dates for elections in the future.
Back in February, INEC had fixed the governorship election in Edo for September 19, while Ondo was scheduled for October 10.
However, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the country has made many to express concern whether it is safe for INEC to conduct elections.
The INEC official went on to note that the commission on June 1 would release a timetable and schedule of activities for the two elections.
Okoye giving reasons why the guber polls won't be postponed cited the 1999 constitution, which provides the commission freedom to conduct an election “not earlier than 150 days and not lesser than 30 days to the expiration of the tenure of an elected officeholder.”
He said: "The implications of not adhering to the law, could make INEC lose the rights to pick the date of elections going forward.
The commission is a constitutional body, and its powers are derived directly from the constitution section 178(1) says that it is the function of INEC to fix the date of elections, but subsection 2 says that an election to the office of the governor shall be conducted not earlier than 150 days and not lesser than 30 days to the expiration of the tenure of the last holder of the office.
“So, we recognise there will be problems (and) challenges, but we are on point and we are determined to deliver on our mandate. It is not as if that we are insisting, it is the constitution that is insisting that we must proceed with this particular election.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that INEC barred its staff above the age of 58 and those with serious underlying illness from resuming work.
This was disclosed in a statement by Festus Okoye, the national commissioner in charge of voter education and public information. The commission met Thursday, May 7, to deliberate on protocols for the resumption of activities and operations.
INEC while noting that only staff above the age of 58 will resume work as operations begin on Monday, May 11, also barred pregnant women, nursing mothers.
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