Apex electoral management body in the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has discontinued the voter’s registration exercise in Edo State where a governorship election is due in two months.
The exercise designed to update the state’s voters register for young people who have attained franchise after the last election had been a subject of bitter contention between the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN] in the state, and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party [PDP] which however holds power at the centre.
The ACN claims the PDP had planned to use its power and influence in Abuja to rig the election. After civil society and election transparency bodies screamed that whereas Edo State has only 192 wards, no fewer than 400 registration machines where floating about in the state. INEC gave no clear reason for pulling the exercise but inside sources told PREMIUM TIMES that it was in part due to the fear that Edo State could witness huge explosions and disturbances related to the exercise.
INEC called a meeting of political parties to announce the cancelation. Many of the party leaders were in attendance including Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, governor of Edo State who is seeking re-election on the banner of the ACN. Leaders of the PDP, All Nigeria Peoples Party, the Labor Party, and the Congress For Progressive Change (CPC) were also in attendance at the Abuja office of INEC when INEC boss, Mr. Attahiru Jega, a professor of political science made the announcement.
Edo state has become the poster child of political violence and underhand politicking in the past months. Manipulated photographic images of leading politicians in lurid sex scenes had been widely broadcast, while planned accidents, as well as political assassinations had been recorded. The latest was Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, the private secretary of Mr. Oshiomhole assasinated in his home in Benin.