The Independent National Electoral Commission has threatened to discontinue the process of the Edo and Ondo States’ governorship elections.
The commission warned that if the actions of political actors lead to verifiable threat and/or breakdown of law and order before or during the elections.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this at the end the commission’s management meeting on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the commission had observed with deep concern the escalating levels of violent actions and incendiary statements by political parties, candidates and their supporters in the run up to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
He said that these actions included destruction of opponents’ campaign materials such billboards, violent campaigns and use of offensive language.
“The commission shall not hesitate to discontinue the process should the actions of political actors lead to cogent and verifiable threat and/or breakdown of law and order before or during the elections,” Okoye said.
According to him, it is important for political parties, candidates and their supporters to keep in mind that there are extant laws and regulations that they must adhere to during campaigns and that the commission will not shirk its responsibility to enforce the rules of the game.
He said: “Consequently, parties and candidates must on no account underestimate the resolve of the commission to enforce the rules and regulations and apply appropriate sanctions against those who choose to break them. The commission remains determined to conduct peaceful elections in the two States and in the outstanding National and State Assembly bye-elections.”
The official noted that the elections have strict constitutional timelines and threats of or actual violence can disrupt the process and create a constitutional crisis.
He hinted that INEC will continue to engage stakeholders in the two states on the need for free, fair, safe and peaceful elections.
Okoye warned that the commission will view gravely any disruptive actions by political actors.