By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja
The National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) explained that it proceeded with all the scheduled elections, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, to avoid possible constitutional crises that could harm the country's democracy and electoral process.
The Commission said it was determined to lead the process of innovation and creativity in the electoral process, instead of throwing in the towel and postponing all elections for an indefinite period.
The National Commissioner and the Voter Information and Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated this during a virtual meeting with media organizations.
He noted that "throwing in the towel in our constitutional circumstances can cause violence to the Constitution and throw, consciously or unconsciously, the country into an avoidable constitutional crisis."
He added: “Therefore, the Commission is determined to proceed with the two end-of-term government elections in the states of Edo and Ondo and the ten Senatorial and State Assembly elections with optimistic caution, bearing in mind that health and safety of the people will be crucial determinants of the success or not of the elections.
“We are aware that we are at war with an“ invisible enemy. We are aware of the fact that some of our countrymen lost their lives because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are aware that many people are in isolation and quarantine centers. We are aware that some people are isolated and quarantined at home. This existential threat has therefore caused major disruptions in public life, which has led to a rethinking of the way we manage elections and the processes related to them ”.
Okoye added: “Sometimes unexpected situations, events and circumstances unbalance countries and nations and present them with new situations and challenges that seem insurmountable. In such circumstances and situations, some countries and nations may give in, throw in the towel in defeat and be completely overwhelmed.
“Sometimes, these situations attract new players and stimulate creativity and innovation that accelerate development. Our nation Nigeria is faced with and in the valley of this dilemma. Giving up is not an option and buckling due to challenges is also not an option. Daring and courageously facing the future is the way forward and the Commission is ready and will be at the forefront of this new direction. "
The National President of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, assured that the Commission will continue to adopt and implement appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our electoral activities.