By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must not shift the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship election, warning that crisis may escalate in the country is the Commission tempers with the original dates.
Briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja over the development in the Edo and Ondo elections, the IPAC chairman, Leonard Nzenwa, said the Council is already aware of the clamour for the September 19 and October 10, 2020 Edo and Ondo States Governorship Elections respectively to be postponed.
“Council insists that the elections MUST HOLD as scheduled pursuant to the provisions of section 178(1) and (2) of the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and section 25(7) and (8), section 99 (1), section 31 (1), (3), section 32 (1), 34, 35, 46 etc among others.
“As we are aware, all Elections in the country as organized by INEC has a clear schedule with timeline that has been sanctioned and legitimized by the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (As amended) and calling for the postponement of the polls is winding the clock backward in addition to waste of taxpayers’ money and other negative impact on the polity”, IPAC chairman said.
He distanced IPAC from the call by some political parties who he said are trying to stampede the commission to hurriedly re-list the deregistered political parties to participate in the Edo and Ondo elections.
“For an election that has gone 95 percent cycle, we see this call for postponement of Edo and Ondo State Governorship as act by unpatriotic Nigerians who resolved to throw into a Political Armageddon.
“The Council urges INEC not to be distracted by actions and inaction of some politicians who are inflaming the polity with incendiary statements and clear intent to cause crisis in these states. The Council is aware of plots to use this same disgruntled individuals and groups in the country to promote the stoppage of Edo and Ondo polls.
“We restate that for the growth and development of our democracy, all elections MUST HOLD as millions of tax payers funds have been spent in preparing for them. The electoral process should not be derailed by ill-informed Nigerians and retrogressive forces.
“IPAC urges Nigerians particularly Edo and Ondo States indigenes to remain calm, law abiding and be prepared to go to the polls on 19th September and 10th October 2020, to vote their preferred candidate.
“We commend pro-active response of INEC to approach the Supreme Court to determine the resolution of this conflicting Court of Appeal Judgment(s) on deregistered political parties.
“The Council is aware of the Court of Appeal Judgment of July 29, 2020, which affirmed power of INEC to deregister political parties in an appeal filed by the National Unity Party (NUP) which is now pending at the Supreme Court. On 10th August 2020, the Court of Appeal in an appeal filed by Advanced Congress of Democrats, ACD and 22 others nullified their deregistration by INEC. Nigerians await the final resolution of the issues raised in the two conflicting judgments. As a stakeholder, IPAC will abide by the decision of the Apex Court.
“IPAC reiterate that it has only one leadership as currently constituted in Nigeria and is working with all stakeholders in the Electoral System including the core stakeholder, INEC and this leadership will always support and work with all stakeholders to ensure that the Edo and Ondo elections are held as scheduled”, IPAC chairman said while briefing journalists at the Secretariat of the party.