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Edo election: DSS invites 10 APC leaders as INEC says violence could trigger state of emergency

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Ten leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state were invited by the Department of State Services (DSS) to a “meeting” on Saturday.

The agenda of the meeting was not disclosed.

A letter dated August 20, 2020, with reference number 171/B/122, addressed to Tony Adun (also known as Kabaka), noted that the meeting would hold by 11am at the DSS headquarters in Benin, the Edo capital.

“I am directed to invite you to an important meeting with the State Director of Security. You are to come with the following persons: Osakpamwan Eriyo, National Chairman, RTEAN; Ehis Adams, APC Leader, Oredo; Osaro Idahosa, APC Leader, Ikpoba-Okha; Okunbor Roberts, APC Leader, Ovia South West LGA; Atarodo, APC member; Kingsley Amedo, APC member; Richard Obe, APC member; Osarobo Idehen, APC member; Dr Emma, APC member,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says a state of emergency may be declared in Edo if the tension brewing in the state ahead of the September 19 governorship poll is not carefully managed.

Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner and chairman, information and voter education committee, disclosed this in an interaction with media organisations in Benin, the Edo capital.

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According to NAN, Okoye, who said INEC is ready for the election, appealed to political leaders and their supporters to ensure peace.

He warned politicans to conduct their campaigns lawfully, adding that the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic has created an unusual electoral atmosphere never experienced before.

“We are aware that INEC has never conducted elections under a pandemic situation. Therefore, this pandemic will make us evolve new strategies for electoral officials, adhoc staff, security agencies, voters and stakeholders,” Okoye said.

“We don’t want anybody to jeopardise their health during the exercise and the commission will continue to fine-tune the electoral process within the ambit of the Constitution.

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“We have advised political parties not to play with end-of-tenure elections because anything that disturbs election from being conducted and concluded on or before November 10 will create constitutional crisis that may lead to a state of emergency.”

He explained that if INEC is confronted with such a scenario, it could only be remedied in accordance with either Section 180, 191 or 305.

“This will warrant the incumbent governor to seek President Muhammadu Buhari’s permission to declare a state of emergency in the state,” the INEC commissioner added.

“My advice to all the political gladiators is that they should play by the rules of the game to avoid constitutional crisis arising from the election.”

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AJAYI Temitope Samuel, A blogger by profession for the past 5 years. He studied Political Science at the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Contact: +2348137451665 Twitter: @iamtemitopesam,
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