The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says a state of emergency may be declared in Edo if the rising tension in the state ahead of the September 19 governorship poll is not carefully managed.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, disclosed this while onteracting with newsmen in Benin, the Edo capital on Friday.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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,” the INEC commissioner added.