THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has listed the guidelines and the timetable for the governorship election holding in Edo State on September 10, this year.
According to INEC, Party Primaries will hold from 2nd June to the 4th of July, 2016; campaigns will commence on Sunday 10th June, 2016, while the official register of voters for the election will be published on the 11th August, 2016. The election proper will take place on the 10th of September.
New Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Edo State, Mr. Sam Olumekun, gave the guidelines just as the Governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole urged him to flush out corrupt INEC officials who were fingered for aiding electoral fraud in the last general election.
Speaking during a meeting with the new REC who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Governor Oshiomhole said, “allow me, on behalf of the government and the good people of Edo State, across all the party divide to welcome you to Edo State and to pray the God almighty to protect you as He has protected your predecessors, guide you, give you wisdom, courage and robust energy to superintend over the preparations and the conduct of the forthcoming election and beyond.
“I am a believer as some of your officers on ground may have briefed you. I am a believer and a preacher of one man one vote because for too long the promise of democracy was compromised in our country and my campaign matra was that you must fight election fraud, not because of me but because of our country.
“It was clear to me that unless you have an accountable government, poverty will remain endemic and society will remain unsafe.
“But I am happy that several years down the line, we have played our part and contributed our quota in the struggle to entrench real democracy and uphold one man one vote. And I am happy you said this: the people must take ownership of this process, not as distant miserable spectators, but as active drivers and participants of the democratic process of which INEC has an extremely critical role to play, like the role of a referee.
“So, your task will be to clean up even your INEC office, and we are going to be very frank about it. It’s good that you have pointed out what government should do, what the police should do, but I also need to suggest to you what you have to do so that those people who are still in your office who are corrupt, who aid electoral fraud that they are eliminated from the process. In line with my own tradition, there is no need to cover up what needs to be exposed because transparency is important if we are going to sustain a full-fledged democracy, I don’t think that we should continue with this primitive tradition.”
According to Oshiomhole, “When you have criminals there, they need to be weeded out, with all due respect to you. So, it is more in your hand. You hold the knife and you also hold the yam, and even the banana and the coconut. So, how you play this instrument is what determines the outcome.
“I assure you whatever we can do to encourage the police and other security people to provide security, certainly we will do, but a lot, and I emphasize a lot rests with INEC.”
Speaking earlier, the new Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Olumekun said, “I am delighted to be here, and let me begin by congratulating you for the marvelous job you have done in Edo State over the years. As people say history will vindicate the just. Obviously, you have expended a lot of energy into the development of this State, and I pray that history will remember you very kindly.