An Nsukka-based activist and clergyman, Rev. Chika Madu, says the Sept. 19 governorship election in Edo poses another litmus test for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Madu who spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Nsukka, stressed that INEC should strive to ensure that the poll would be credible, free and fair.
He said: “All eyes are on INEC because Edo election is going to be another litmus test for the commission.
“INEC as an electoral umpire should ensure that all the political parties that fielded candidates for the poll were given a level playing field.”
He further charged the commission to avoid the pitfalls experienced in Kogi, Osun, Ekiti and Bayelsa state governorship elections by being neutral as an umpire.
“INEC should ensure that only people with integrity to protect the image of the commission are appointed as local government returning officers.
“The commission should also ensure adequate training for ad-hoc staff, on how to operate card reader machines and also put the machines in good condition.”
The cleric also urged INEC to ensure that all electoral materials and personnel arrive at the polling units early to enable accreditation and voting to start at 8a.m. prompt.
“At times what causes problems in polling units is late delivery of electoral materials or incomplete materials, including the lack of result sheets.
“Adequate security should be provided in all polling units to protect electoral materials, INEC personnel and electorate during the poll,” he said.
Madu, who is the Founder of Highway to Grace Assembly Ministry, Nsukka, further implored political parties, candidates and their supporters in Edo “to play the game of politics according to the rules” and not take the poll as a do-or-die affair.
“Candidates and their supporters should avoid anything that will cause violence by conducting themselves peacefully.
“Election should not be seen as a do-or-die affair because if one loses today he or she may win tomorrow.
“We should all know that all power belongs to God and He is the one that crowns a king,” he said.