Edo poll will hold despite drumbeat of war –INEC

The 14 political parties participating in the governorship elections in Edo state scheduled for September 19 would sign a peace accord in the coming days, the Independent National Electoral Commission said on Monday.

The commission expressed optimism that with all such efforts, the election would be held peacefully.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, represented by his Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Oyekanmi, stated these during a webinar on Edo and Ondo elections, organised by the Executive Director of International Press Centre, Lanre Arogundade and Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria.

Arogundade stated that the main duty of journalists during elections is to relay the information that citizens will require to make informed choices.

“It is a duty we must not abdicate but which we have to undertake with the utmost sense of professional responsibility so as to set the appropriate pubic interest agenda as far as elections in Edo and Ondo states are concerned”, he said.

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The event had as its theme ‘Edo/Ondo elections: The Imperative of Safety Consciousness and Conflict Sensitivity in Media Coverage and Reportage.’

According to Oyekanmi, INEC was ready to conduct the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for October 10 despite drumbeats of war as “all the logistics needed for the election have been taken care of.”

He said, “As we approach the Edo governorship election, it is clear that the people of the state and Nigerians as a whole are very concerned about what will happen on election day. We have all been hearing the loud drumbeats of war from political actors. There have been accusations and counter accusations. Just like everybody else, the commission is deeply concerned.

“On proactive measures taken by the commission to address security concerns, consultations with the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on election security are on-going. About two weeks ago, the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu led a delegation to meet with the Oba of Benin to ask him to intervene and appeal to political actors to allow a peaceful election.

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“The respected monarch promised to invite them to his palace for interaction and he has already done so. Plans have also been concluded for all the 14 political parties participating in the election to sign a peace accord in the coming days. With all these efforts, it is our hope that the election will be held peacefully.”

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