Police, DSS want INEC to postpone Edo election
• PDP cautions against alleged plot to disrupt polls
• Electoral body to decide after talks with security agencies
Warning of unfavourable intelligence reports, the Nigeria Police and Department of State Services (DSS) yesterday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the Edo State governorship election slated for Saturday.
But the Peoples Democratic Party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said: “We hope that this advice from the security agencies is not in concert with the APC, having seen the indices of losing the Edo State gubernatorial election to the PDP.
“We are calling on President Buhari to caution the security agencies and direct them to provide full security, and also desist from doing anything that will jeopardise this forthcoming gubernatorial election in Edo State. We are equally counting on INEC not to succumb to this false alarm and act independently.”
The Force Public Relations Officer, Don Awunah, told journalists at a press conference in Abuja that credible intelligence indicated plans by insurgents and other unscrupulous elements to attack soft targets in the state. Awunah, who was flanked by Garba Abdullahi of the DSS, said: “The public would recall that similar threats were issued during the May Day and Democracy Day celebrations as well as Ed-el Fitr holidays in July, 2016.
“In the same vein, while election is important, the security agencies cannot allow the peace of the country to be disrupted. We will continue to remain vigilant and ensure the consolidation of the successes gained in the current counter-insurgency fight.“It is in regard of these that we are appealing to INEC, which has the legal duty to regulate elections in the country, to consider the need for a possible postponement of the date of the election in Edo State, to enable the agencies to deal decisively with the envisaged terrorist threats.”
INEC chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, yesterday evening, said the commission would consult with security agencies to decide whether the Edo State governorship election should be postponed.At a stakeholders’ meeting, the chairman, however, restated the readiness of the body to conduct the election.
He said: “INEC is fully prepared and fully mobilised for the election. The preparation started six months ago with the issuance of the election timetable and the schedule of activities. Out of the 14 activities lined out in the timetable and schedule of activities, we have successfully implemented 12 activities and only two are outstanding.”
The PDP said: “We are taken aback by this advice, coming a day after President Muhammadu Buhari was present at the mega rally of its party in Benin City, which was concluded without any hitch.
“It is on record that INEC recently conducted a ‘hitch-free’ senatorial by-election in Borno State, which is a highpoint of insurgency in the country. The security agencies saw no reason to call off the election. It is therefore lamentable to hear from these same security agencies that the election cannot be held in a state where in less than 24 hours, the president and all APC leaders and members had an uninterrupted rally.”