Ahead of the Edo State governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has been called upon to take steps to douse apprehension among Edo electorate over issues of “transparency, impartiality and integrity” of the electoral umpire to guarantee a free, fair and credible election.
A rights and integrity advocacy group, Network for Best Practice and Integrity in Leadership NEBPRIL, made this call in a letter to INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, dated September 3, 2020, by its Chairman Hon. Afam Ogene.
It raised concern over the controversy trailing the recent redeployment of a Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Mr Johnson Alalibo, to Edo State, saying Alalibo “has had obvious political exposure, which is evident in his recent participation as an aspirant in governorship election in Bayelsa State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, a major contender in the coming Edo election.”
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Meanwhile, INEC, has urged religious leaders to sensitise their followers to shun any form of violence in Edo.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Mr John Alalibo, made the call during a one-day stakeholders’ sensitisation meeting in Benin.
He noted that the commission’s efforts at ensuring free and credible elections on September 19, might suffer a setback if religious leaders failed to douse the rising tension.
According to him, threats of violence coupled with COVID-19 pandemic in the state can lead to voter apathy in the forthcoming elections should religious leaders fail to take responsibility as relevant stakeholders before, during and after the election.