Conducting Scheduled Governorship Elections in Edo and Ondo States in the Face of COVID-19 National Health Emergency in Nigeria: Possibilities and Options

Ngara, Christopher Ochanja ; Ejalonibu, Ganiyu L. (2020)


This policy paper examines the possibilities and options of conducting the scheduled governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using both primary and secondary sources of data, the paper argues that the spread of COVID-19 to Nigeria has significantly hampered social and political activities, including elections. This is because processes of democratic elections, which often involves the congregation of people during political rallies, campaigns and casting of ballot now contravenes health and public safety protocols and measures adopted by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to contain the coronavirus disease. By virtue of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), postponing a governorship elections, unlike legislative elections, beyond a certain timeframe, even in times of national emergency may present grave constitutional crisis. This leaves INEC with the difficult choice of proceeding with the elections despite public health safety concerns and possibilities of low voter turnout. The paper concludes that in order to maintain democratic inclusiveness in the forthcoming elections despite the prevalence of COVID-19 public health measures, the adoption of electronic and other impersonal voting methods provides a safer and sustainable option.