The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked claims that there is a possibility of shifting the February 2019 elections.
The commission made the clarification on Wednesday, insisting that there are no such plans.
A statement signed by Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, described the report credited to a national newspaper alluding to the possibility of a shift, as untrue.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to a story with the headline — We May Shift 2019 Polls Over Threat of Violence — INEC — which appeared on the front page of a national newspaper today, but which did not correctly reflect what the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting which took place at the Commission’s headquarters on 11th September 2018.
“In his remarks at the meeting, the INEC Chairman told the security chiefs that with the 2019 elections drawing close, the Committee would need to meet more frequently to constantly assess the security situation across the country and take proactive actions to forestall any unpleasant event before, during and after the elections.
“He underscored the fact that the elections cannot be conducted under a rancorous atmosphere. He referred to Section 26 of the Electoral Act which, among others, gives the Commission power to postpone an election ‘if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on (the fixed date)’, or as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies.
“Prof. Yakubu made this reference to the Electoral Act only to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections and to emphasise the significance of the synergy between the Commission and security agencies.”
The statement went on to state specifically that “To be sure, INEC has no plan to postpone the 2019 general election”.