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INEC warns against incumbency power abuse in Edo, Ondo


YAKUBUAhead of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has cautioned against the abuse of incumbency power.

Yakubu noted that a situation where a ruling party denied the opposition access to campaign spaces often resulted in a breach of peace.

He appealed for security protection for both the personnel and materials that INEC would be deploying for the upcoming elections.

The Edo State governorship election is scheduled for September 21, 2024, while the Ondo State election will be held on November 16, 2024.

The Continuous Voter Registration in both states will run simultaneously from Monday, May 27, to Wednesday, June 5, from 9 am to 3 pm daily, including weekends.

Campaigns by political parties in Edo State began on April 24, 2024, and would conclude at midnight on September 19, 2024.

Speaking on Thursday at a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security in Abuja, Yakubu underscored the responsibility of security agencies to ensure the enforcement of the law throughout the election period, stressing the importance of a peaceful and orderly process.

He also called on the security agencies to maintain vigilance over the electioneering process, to prevent violent attacks and negative mobilisation by political parties, candidates, and their supporters during campaigns.

He said, “We need security protection for the registrants, registration personnel, equipment, observers, and journalists that will cover the CVR exercise.

“I urge you to keep your eyes on the electioneering process to prevent violent attacks or negative mobilisation by political parties, candidates, and their supporters during their campaigns.

“Similarly, the use of the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties and candidates access to public facilities, such as radio and television stations, public buildings for campaigns and rallies, or even outdoor advertising through the imposition of excessive fees and levies often results in the breach of the peace.

“These actions, including the mutual destruction of campaign materials and facilities, violate the provisions of Sections 91 to 97 of the Electoral Act 2022. The security agencies must ensure the enforcement of the law,” he said.

The National Security Adviser and co-chair of ICCES, Nuhu Ribadu, stressed the need for the same level of dedication and effort in the forthcoming elections as was demonstrated in previous ones.

Ribadu highlighted the importance of strategic deployment, cautioning against overwhelming the system with excessive numbers.

Represented by the Director of Internal Security in the ONSA, Hassan Abdullahi, the NSA said, “The same efforts for the previous elections would be extended to the forthcoming elections.

“However, we need to be careful in our deployment in terms of numbers so that we will not overburden the system.”

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