The All Progressives Congress (APC) has officially informed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the direct mode of primary adopted by the party’s National Working Committee to select its candidate for the Edo governorship election.
In a letter addressed to the Commission by the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, the party noted that it has scheduled its primary exercise for June 22.
“I convey to you my compliments and wish to respectfully inform you that the All Progressives Congress has decided to conduct direct primary for the Edo State governorship elections on Monday, June 22nd, 2020.
“To this end we have put in place modalities to ensure strict compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines as announced by the Covid-19 Presidential Taskforce and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),” the letter read.
The party said the Direct Primary will be conducted in 192 wards in the state, inviting INEC to observe the process.
This comes as the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki submitted his governorship expression of interest and nomination forms at the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja on Wednesday.
Obaseki who was at secretariat with a company of close aides and supporters submitted the form at the office of the National Organising Secretary, Emma Ibediro.
In a related development, INEC has stated its readiness to conduct the off-season elections in Edo and Ondo. It noted that it will not allow the Covid-19 pandemic to throw the nation into a wave of a constitutional crisis.
The Commission during its first virtual meeting with the Media on Wednesday said the election will conducted without throwing to the dustbins, the NCDC and PTF on COVID-19 guidelines.
Both elections are slated for September 19 and October 10 respectively.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu in his remarks said the Commission would not be able to provide facemasks for the electorate and re-echoed the advisory of the PTF on Covid-19 that Nigerians should use non-medical masks or improvise other face coverings.
Mahmood noted that all journalists on election duty would go through the process of accreditation online.
He said; “The Commission has always accredited media organizations to cover elections and to ensure your unimpeded access to voting locations and collation centres. The forthcoming Edo and Ondo Governorship elections as well as many bye-elections across the country will not be different. However, in tandem with the new health reality, accreditation of media organisations for these elections will be done online through a dedicated portal.”
National Commissioner and Chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye said: “Our nation Nigeria is faced with and in the valley of this dilemma. Giving up is not an option and buckling on account of challenges is also not an option. Daring and courageously facing the future is the way to go and the Commission is ready and will be in the vanguard of this new direction.
“The Commission is therefore determined to be part and indeed lead the process of innovation and creativity in the electoral process rather than throw in the towel and postpone all elections to an indeterminate period. Throwing in the towel in our constitutional circumstances may do violence to the Constitution and wittingly or unwittingly throw the country into an avoidable constitutional crisis.
“The Commission is therefore determined to proceed with the two end of tenure Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States and the ten Senatorial and State Assembly elections with cautious optimistic bearing in mind that the health and safety of the people will be crucial determinants of the success or otherwise of the elections.
“We are mindful of the fact that we are at war with an ‘unseen enemy’. We are aware of the fact that some of our compatriots have lost their lives on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are aware that so many people are in isolation and quarantine centres. We are aware that some of our people are isolated and quarantined at home. This existential threat has therefore caused major disruption in public life which has led to a rethink of the way we administer elections and the processes connected therewith”, Okoye stated.