The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has condemned the violent election campaigns held by certain political parties in Edo and Ondo State.
The IEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, announced on Thursday that the commission will suspend the governorship elections in the two states, if the actions of the political players will affect the process of the elections scheduled for September, 19.
Okoye stated that the commission is very concerned about the rising levels of the fierce actions and offensive statements by political parties, candidates and their supports, in the run-up to the elections.
“These actions include the destruction of opponents’ campaign materials such as billboards, violent campaigns and use of offensive language. It is important for political parties, candidates and their supporters to keep in mind that there are extant laws and regulations that must be adhered to, during campaigns,” he said.
The INEC chairman also noted that the commission intends to conduct a peaceful election process in the two states and in the outstanding National and State Assembly bye-elections.
“Political parties must remember that Edo and Ondo governorship elections have strict constitutional and statutory timelines and threats of violence or actual violence can disrupt those timelines and create a constitutional crisis,” he added.
Okoye further said that the commission will resume engaging stakeholders on the states to ensure a safe, fair and nonviolent election process. “The commission will review gravely, any disruptive actions by political actors,” he warned.
The INEC reassured the people of Edo and Ondo that it will conduct a credible and safe election process in the states and advised residents to partake in the elections.