The Independent National Electoral Commission has postponed the Edo State 2016 Governorship Election to Wednesday, September 28.
The decision was announced to journalists on Thursday night, about eight hours after the commission had insisted that the election would hold as earlier scheduled for Saturday, September 10, despite warnings from security agencies.
But the factional leadership of the opposition PDP, led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has reiterated its earlier position that the Saturday, September 10, election date should remain sacrosanct.
Spokesperson for the PDP, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, who stated this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said the postponement of the election was illegal and a coup against Nigerians.
As a prelude to announcement of the postponement of the Saturday poll, the police beefed up security around the commission’s headquarters in Benin with riot policemen frisking visitors.
INEC’s decision to postpone the election followed a security report written to the commission by the IG of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the DG of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura.
The National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, who broke the news to journalists in Benin, however, refused to take questions.
Reading a text, Soyebi who was with the Edo Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Sam Olumekun, said the commission had successfully implemented 12 of the 14 activities on the Election Timeline.
The National Commissioner added, “The commission has deployed over 18,000 electoral staff, secured and deployed all materials required for the election and mobilised over 1.9 million voters to exercise their civic responsibilities.
“However, at about 6pm today (Thursday), the commission received official communication from the Police and the DSS, drawing its (INEC) attention to the need to postpone the Edo Governorship Elections.
“Such a postponement, the communication indicates, is necessary in view of threats of terrorist activities in Edo and other states of the federation during the election and over the Sallah period.”
Soyebi revealed that the letter from the security agencies indicated that holding the election on that day would overstretch the police personnel.
“Consequently, the commission notes the request of the security agencies and, considering the security implications of proceeding with the election, the safety of eligible voters, electoral officials, including ad hoc staff, and other stakeholders, has decided to reschedule the Edo Governorship Election to Wednesday, September 28, 2016.”