Ondo poll: Group insists on INEC’s neutrality for free, fair election

Ondo poll: Group insists on INEC’s neutrality for free, fair election

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A non-government organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), on Thursday, tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the need for neutrality before, during and after the Saturday’s governorship election.

Such, the NGO reasoned, was very crucial to the attainment of a peaceful, free and fair election.

In a statement by its Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola, MURIC stressed further that INEC has the responsibility to put all its cards on the table in order to gain the confidence of all stakeholders during the election.

According to the NGO, “The electoral body must ensure a free, fair and credible election.

In the same vein, the security agencies should not allow themselves to be used for selfish ends.

“They must see themselves as the only umpires in the competition taking place on the field of democracy. They should manifest highest level of professionalism.

“Their neutrality before, during and after the election is very crucial to the attainment of a peaceful, free and fair election” it said.

The MURIC equally frowns at INEC’s insistence on holding the election as scheduled, pointing out that nothing makes Saturday sacrosanct.

“The guiding principle should be fairness to all parties concerned”, it argued.

Continuing, the NGO stated, “gubernatorial election will be held in Ondo State on Saturday 26th November, 2016. Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected calls for postponement made by some political parties and insisted that the election must hold as scheduled.

“The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) frowns at INEC’s insistence on holding the election as scheduled.

“Nothing makes Saturday sacrosanct. The guiding principle should be fairness to all parties concerned.

“The air of uncertainty orchestrated by lingering court cases informed the request for postponement made by 21 political parties led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). INEC should have listened to that request since it would not have been the first-time election dates were shifted. “The green light given to the Appeal Court by the Supreme Court came at the twilight of preparations for the election and the final emergence of Eyitayo Jegede as the PDP’s candidate has vindicated the 21 political parties which demanded a postponement.

“A political climate enveloped by a thick cloud of uncertainty is definitely not the best in the circumstances.

“Viewed from this perspective, the PDP’s candidate has been heavily shortchanged particularly because he has little or no time to campaign, review his strategy and marshal his arsenal of opportunities before the final onslaught.

“In short, INEC has not created a level playing ground for all parties. The onus is therefore on INEC to prove its good intention”, it said.

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