The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will go ahead with all scheduled elections despite the COVID-19 pandemic to wade off possible constitutional crisis that could derail the nation’s democracy and electoral process.
The National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, who stated these during a virtual meeting with media organisations said it was determined to lead the process of innovation and creativity in the electoral process rather than throw in the towel and postpone all elections to an indeterminate period.
He noted that “throwing in the towel in our constitutional circumstances may do violence to the Constitution and wittingly or unwittingly throw the country into avoidable constitutional crisis”.
“The Commission is therefore determined to proceed with the two end of tenure Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States and the ten Senatorial and State Assembly elections with cautious optimistic bearing in mind that the health and safety of the people will be crucial determinants of the success or otherwise of the elections.
“We are mindful of the fact that we are at war with an “unseen enemy. We are aware of the fact that some of our compatriots have lost their lives on account of COVID-19 pandemic. We are aware that so many people are in isolation and quarantine centers. We are aware that some of our people are isolated and quarantined at home. This existential threat has therefore caused major disruption in public life which has led to a rethink of the way we administer elections and the processes connected therewith”.
Okoye added: “Sometimes, unexpected situations, events and circumstances throw countries and nations off balance and present them with new situations and challenges that seems insurmountable. In such circumstances and situations, some countries and nations may buckle, throw in the towel in defeat and are completely overwhelmed.
“Sometimes, such situations throw up new players and spur creativity and innovation that accelerates development. Our nation Nigeria is faced with and in the valley of this dilemma.
“Giving up is not an option and buckling on account of challenges is also not an option. Daring and courageously facing the future is the way to go and the Commission is ready and will be in the vanguard of this new direction.”