The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) hinted yesterday that it might be compelled to suspend the 2019 general election following threats to violence by some politicians in the country.
Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who stated this, was reacting to some disturbing videos of political campaigns in the social media in which some politicians are seen threatening to shed blood.
He spoke when he received briefing from the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun State on the progress and the preparedness of the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
Noting that recent developments and signs in the country’s political landscape calls for greater vigilance, Yakubu asked politicians to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner.
The INEC boss who observed that election can only hold when there is a secured environment said, “In fact, the Electoral Act, especially section 26, empowers the commission to suspend election on account of violence or threat of violence.
“So, we will continue to partner and continue to work with the security agencies as we approach the 2019 general election. Our meetings are going to become more frequent and regular”.
Yakubu explained that the synergy between the electoral body and security agencies is crucial for the 2019 polls in order to secure the environment for the conduct of the elections.
Insisting that there is no way election can be conducted except the nation maintains order, peace and progress, he continued: “Elections cannot be conducted in an atmosphere of rancour. So, we share this great responsibility with the security agencies. Good election is good for this country. Bad election is a recipe for disaster; we don’t pray for it.
“So, let us continue to work together to anticipate the challenges and address the challenges because we have the capacity to do so. The nation expects we should do so and once we do so, there will be fewer problems during elections”.
On the viral video in the social media containing a political campaign that tended to have defiled decent process, Yakubu said it calls for greater vigilance.
He stated: “We see statements by some of the political actors captured and circulated nationwide via social media platforms. It is something that the security agencies need to put an eye on because if we allow this to pester, it will encourage those who may wish to do some destructive actions or feel encouraged to do so.
“But if we take immediate action, I think we may be able to stop them and further secure the environment for us to conduct free, fair and credible elections”.
Yakubu further noted that between now and March 2, 2018, the most important activities in Nigeria will be the successful conduct of the 2019 general elections, adding that the most important issue for the commission now is the Osun State governorship election, which is billed to hold in the next 11 days.
•Excerpted from a Leadership report