Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it was ready for the conduct of the Isi-Uzo State Constituency Enugu election but would not hold the poll without the police.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Enugu State Dr Emeka Ononamadu, who disclosed this during the Commission’s consultative meeting on Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the State, said the readiness of INEC was dependent on that of all other stakeholders.
Ononamadu noted that the consultative meeting which was aimed at getting the stakeholders to be part and parcel of the decision of arriving at a convenient date for the election which was postponed due to the #EndSARS protest was being held simultaneously in all the 11 states where the by-election will take place.
He noted that indications show that the tension in the land was still high, hence the need to engage the stakeholders to begin a process of dousing the tension so that the low turnout that has been the hallmark of elections in Enugu State would be conquered.
The REC disclosed that the Commission had consulted with the security agencies, the political parties (IPAC) particularly the nine political parties that fielded candidates and would still meet with traditional rulers and Presidents General for the same purpose.
He said: “The only thing I am sure is that we cannot hold this election without the police…We want the Police to come back and we suspect there will be movement of personnel from one local government to another and that will not be done in two weeks.
“From the political parties, they are saying that they needed time to go back to the electorates as it seems that what they told them before the #EndSARS has fiddled away. INEC is ready but our readiness is dependent on the readiness of all the stakeholders. We want to ensure that everything normalized beyond speculations.”
The participants were divided in their contributions, with some urging INEC to fix a nearby day before the end of the year so that Isi-Uzo would have a representative and others saying that the situation was still cloudy especially as police were yet to return to the streets and roads and asked INEC to allow normalcy return fully before going into the election.