The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday denied a report quoting its chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu as saying the commission may shift the 2019 polls over threats of violence.
According to the report, the chairman made the remark at the Inter Agency consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) that took place at the commission’s headquarters.
But in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, the commission said the report which appeared on the front page of a national daily with the headline: “We may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence-INEC” was not a correct reflection of what the chairman said.
Oyekanmi explained that the chairman underscored the fact that elections could not be conducted under rancorous atmosphere saying: “He referred to Section 26 of the Electoral Act which, among others gives the commission the power to postpone an election ‘If there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on (the fixed date’, or as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies.”
According to him, the INEC chairman made this reference to the Electoral Act only to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections and to emphasize the significance of the synergy between the commission and security agencies.
“At no point during his remarks did the INEC chairman allude to the notion that the commission ‘may shift the 2019 polls over threat of violence as reported by the national newspaper,” the statement said.