The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to weigh carefully any call for another postponement of the Edo State governorship election.
The election was scheduled to hold last Saturday but following security advice from the Police and Department of State Services (DSS), the electoral body was forced to postpone the exercise to Wednesday, September 28.
However, there have been fresh calls for the polls to be rescheduled again.
One of such calls was made by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Osaro Onaiwu, who urged INEC to postpone the election once more because it would clash with the 2016 November/December General Certificate Examination (GCE) conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
The CDHR, however, said postponement of the polls the first time by INEC, had greatly affected the logistics of civil society organizations as well as local and international observer groups.
The committee, in a statement by its President, Malachy Ugwummadu, noted that “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”.
Although, he admitted 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.
He said: “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 constitutional time limit?” Ugwummadu queried.