AS the electorate in Edo State file out to vote in their next governor today, all eyes are on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to deliver on its mandate of conducting a free, fair and credible election. The Commission has dutifully carried out 13 of the 14 scheduled tasks contained in the timetable and schedule of activities for the election, the last is the actual election today.
However, while the electoral umpire has a great role to play in this regard, it is pertinent to note that in spite of its preparations, if other stakeholders like the security agencies, politicians and the people refuse to cooperate with it, the dream of having a free, fair and credible election would just be a mirage.
It was in realization of this that INEC, through the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, ICCES, has held several meetings and drawn up a code of conduct for security operatives deployed for the election.
The Commission said the introduction of a harmonized Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement is a “commitment to improve the quality of elections in Nigeria, including the provision of first-class protection for all electoral activities.” Security operatives on election day will now “operate with a common standard of reference for their actions.”
The electoral umpire also developed a policy for conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The policy contains a lot of health and other advisories to ensure a seamless exercise and protect against spread of the virus.