Political parties react to INEC’s decision to postpone polls

From left: National Commissioner of INEC, Prof. Anthonia Simbine; Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; and another National Commissioner, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, during the INEC quarterly consultative meeting with political parties, in Abuja on Wednesday (4/6/18). 03572/4/6/2018/Hogan Bassey/NAN
FILE PHOTO: From left: National Commissioner of INEC, Prof. Anthonia Simbine; Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; and another National Commissioner, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, during the INEC quarterly consultative meeting with political parties, in Abuja on Wednesday (4/6/18). 03572/4/6/2018/Hogan Bassey/NAN

Some political parties have reacted to the postponement of the general election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The INEC’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on Saturday announced the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections few hours to the commencement of the February 16 polls.

The commission cited logistics and operational plans as reasons, noting that both elections would be shifted by a week each.

The presidential and National Assembly elections will now hold on February 23 while state elections will take place on March 9.

PREMIUM TIMES contacted some of the parties for their reactions to INEC’s decision.

All Grassroots Alliance (AGA)

Saliman Yekeni, a member of the party, said the reason for the postponement should have been announced earlier.

”I do not know how INEC would have to wait a few hours to the election. I am sure there are other people that are shocked as I am. The reason given for the postponement should have been identified earlier,” he said.

All Blending Party National (ABP)

The party’s national publicity secretary, Uzong Moses, alleged that the INEC got the order from the federal government to postpone the election.

”We all say this is fraud, because INEC is not supposed to cancel (the) election. We all (know) that it is impossible for Mahmood to declare the postponement just like that, in the early hours on the day of election. The chairman got the order from the federal government. We are not happy on the postponement because we are all ready.

Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN)

The party’s presidential candidate, Fela Durotoye, in an interview with Channels TV, said INEC should resume its distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVC).

Mr Durotoye also urged the commission to do what is right, even if it was to get experts to help out.

Young Progressives Party (YPP)

The party’s presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, urged Nigerians to remain calm, following the postponement of the general elections.

He said the postponement of the elections signposted the recycling of failure under the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN)

The national chairman, Abuja FCT chapter, Daniel Babatunde, urged INEC to conduct credible elections and urged the commission to tender an apology to Nigerians as well as local and international observers.

Mr Babatunde said the effect of the postponement would affect a lot of Nigerians.

”The point is that INEC has gone ahead without enough notice. They should be able to give us their best for a free and fair election,” he said.

Sustainable National Party (SNP)

The party’s national chairman, Kayode Arimoro, said INEC was obviously not ready to conduct the elections

”We obviously were not ready, with certain incidences in some part of the countries, like voting materials seen in Jos and ballot papers found in Kano, and some security issues.

”I feel it is good to be 100 per cent ready before we go ahead so we do not create a scenario that election would hold in some part of the country and not hold in order parts of the country.”

Independent Democrats (ID)

The party’s chairman, who is also the presidential candidate of the party, Edozie Madu, told PREMIUM TIMES that the cost implication is enormous, not for stakeholders alone, but for everyone one concerned with the election. He said, ”It is only in this country this can happen.”

Green Party of Nigeria (GPN)

In a telephone interview with the party’ presidential candidate, Sam Ike, he described the postponement as disappointing.

”It is a disappointment from INEC because they have reassured us many times that they are ready and prepared for this election, because of the last minute complain regarding sensitive materials.

”As I am speaking with you, I am in my country home, and I cannot stay one week here the same as people who have travelled far distances. From all indications, we realised that the arrival of the materials was frustrated by the governors in power, in other to make ensure that elections in some states, are staggered.”

Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN)

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the party’s national chairman, Odion Okpebholo, he accused both the government of the ruling party All Progressive Congress (APC) and the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of being responsible for the postponement, alleging it is a deliberate act to rig the polls.

”APC and the PDP are responsible for the postponement of the elections. The same people that are in APC were in APC, same as PDP. They want to rig the elections,” Mr Okpebholo said.

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