By Omeiza Ajayi
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has again expressed commitment to conducting free and fair governorship elections in Edo and Ondo state, assuring that it has no interest in who emerges as governor of both states.
Chief Press Secretary CPS to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi stated this on Monday at a Webinar organized by the International Press Centre IPC and Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria ACSPN.
The webinar had the theme: “Edo/Ondo Elections: The imperative of Safety Consciousness and Conflict Sensitivity in Media Coverage and Reportage”.
According to him, INEC is not interested in the outcome of the elections but the credibility of the process.
“It is the duty of INEC to provide a level playing field. We are not interested in the outcome of the elections but the credibility of the process, to ensure that materials get to the polling unit in good time”, he said.
Oyekanmi said INEC will make use of its new Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic, as well as its Regulations and Guidelines to deliver on its mandate.
While appealing to journalists to be fair in their reportage, Oyekanmi assured of a better relationship with journalist in election coverage.
“Regardless of the not-so-pleasant experiences Journalists might have experienced with security agents during elections in the past, they are rest assured of good experience this time around.
“We are grateful for the synergy and we will continue to work together. I assure you that the experience will be different”, he said.
He added that although the commission is not permitted to disqualify politricks cal parties from participating in the polls, it could, however, postpone such exercises if it becomes apparent that going forward could be disastrous.
“INEC is not permitted by law to disqualify political parties from participating in the Edo Governorship election, but Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) gives the Commission the power to postpone an election if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on the appointed date”.