INEC Prepared For Edo Governorship Election Despite Security Reports

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) confirmed on Wednesday that it is prepared to conduct the Edo State gubernatorial election slated for Saturday, September 10. The commission’s willingness to go ahead with the poll undermines requests by the police and Department of State Security (DSS) to postpone the election.

The two security agencies had on Wednesday morning threatened that “insurgents” and “extremists” would provoke violence during the election. This was disclosed in a security report issued jointly by the police and DSS. INEC officials told SaharaReporters that they heard of the "Security Report" while at a stakeholders meeting Benin City with the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations in attendance. The source further claimed INEC was 99% ready and had already distributed non-sensitive election materials across the State when the devastating report hit its officers and ad-hoc staff
Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomole, who was campaigning outside of Benin City, urged INEC to avoid delaying the election for too long, saying that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was going to “bury” the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the contest.

Edo State PDP Chairman Dan Orbih opposed the postponement, saying such an action would put “democracy on trial.”

INEC sources speaking to SaharaReporters confirmed that neither the DSS nor the Nigeria Police Force consulted with the commission before advising it to postpone the election. INEC, however, was aware of the security report issued by the two agencies.

Saturday’s election between Godwin Obaseki (APC) and Osagie Ize-Iyamu (PDP) is expected to be tightly contested, with both camps engaging in last-minute efforts to secure victory.

President Muhammadu Buhari visited Benin City on Tuesday to address a rally in support of the APC candidate. In anticipation of the rally, the APC reportedly paid each Local Government coordinator N5 million to “mobilize” a crowd for the president Buhari though the attendance in the was impressive but it yielded poor support for APC's candidate regardless.

Meanwhile, PDP governors have been pumping funds into local government areas surrounding Benin City, claiming that the party has made progress that would defeat the APC on Saturday.

At the time of reporting, INEC has yet to make a statement officially postponing the election, although a source at the agency admitted that the security report has psychologically demobilized its workforce.
However, its officials, including the chairperson and four national commissioners, plan to remain in Benin City until a final decision is made.