Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has threatened not to declare results at polling booth where elections will be disrupted in the forthcoming Edo and Ondo states governorship elections.
Yakubu warned political parties and politicians to shun violence or risk forfeiting poll results when he spoke at a virtual event on Democracy and Elections in West Africa organised by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC, United States, in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development.
The INEC Chairman said where an election is disrupted; the commission will not make declaration on the outcome due to lack of adherence to guiding rules of election.
Prof Yakubu stated there would be no point making a declaration in such situation as the commission will not endorse fraud or function outside the minimum standard set for the conduct of credible elections.
Prof Yakubu said, “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.
“You (political parties, politicians and voters) either behave for the elections to be concluded in a free and fair manner or we do what the law says.
“While elections are disrupted, we should look far beyond the electoral commission.
“I think you put your fingers on the problem, on the political class and the security challenges and that is why we have been engaging with them.”
Addressing challenges the commission might face in conducting an election in a Coronavirus pandemic period, Yakubu, said Nigeria with 10 bye-elections and over 6.2 million voters is determined to ensure democracy is not truncated.
He said proper measures have been put in place to contain the possible spread of COVID-19 among voters and officials.
Listing some of the measures, the INEC Chairman said, machines used for voter authentication will be disinfected, the use of face masks and a two-meter (6 feet) physical distance between voters will be enforced while infrared thermometers will be provided in voting and collation areas.
Prof Yakubu added that adequate security would be put in place during the election while officials participating in the conduct of the election will be properly trained in line with advisories and guideline listed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
According to him, INEC will continue to relate with political parties across the country to ensure a free, credible and fair respective of the pandemic
“Nigeria is one of the most litigated against public institutions in the country. In the last one and the half years over the conduct of the general elections and party primaries, we have been dragged to court over 2000 times and it is counting,” Prof Yakubu said.