The electoral commission, INEC, has warned that there would be no declaration of winners in the forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo if the processes are undermined by violence.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, said this on Tuesday, during a virtual workshop organised by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).
Elections are scheduled to take place in Edo State on September 19 and in Ondo State on October 20.
INEC said the decision followed the backdrop of its experiences in past off-season governorship elections held in Kogi and Bayelsa that were characterised by violence and electoral violations.
At least 10 people were reportedly killed in election-related violence in the two states during the November 16 governorship elections last year.
PREMIUM TIMES also reported the murder of Salome Abuh, the 60-year-old PDP women leader of Ochadamu Ward in Ofu local government of Kogi State. She was murdered two days after the election.
The APC won the governorship election and its officials have repeatedly claimed that it was transparent and violence-free despite evidence to the contrary.
The INEC chairman warned that where an election is disrupted in Edo and Ondo, the commission will not make a declaration on the outcome.
He also assured that the commission would take proactive measures in protecting the integrity of the electoral process.
“Where the election is disrupted and the commission cannot vouch for the integrity of the process, we will not go ahead to make any declaration,” Mr Yakubu said.
“And this we have told the political parties point-blank; you either behave for the elections to be concluded in a free and fair manner or we do what the law says.
“Yesterday, I had a meeting with the National Security Adviser, we are meeting with all the security agencies. But what are the proactive measures the commission is going to take if there is a replay of what happened in Bayelsa and Kogi? We will protect the integrity of the process,” he added.
Mr Yakubu also assured that adequate security during the process will be put in place for both officials and voters in line with advisories and guideline listed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Also, the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, called for sanctions against political parties and individuals who make efforts to jeopardise electoral process.
She said unruly behaviour by politicians and their supporters should not be condoned.
She said the commission should be supported in the areas of crisis management, combating misinformation and dissuading bad behaviour.
“The international community must support INEC in the procurement process to reduce cost, civic education must be delivered on adherence to the guidelines by voters and political party members,” Ms Hassan said.