Elections Postponement: Nigerians are angry with INEC — IPAC chairman

Some sensitive and non-sensitive election materials returned to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Local Government office in Suleja, Niger State, following the shift of Saturday’s (today) presidential and National Assembly elections to Feb. 23. The governorship and house of assembly, FCT area council elections have also been shifted from March 2 to March 9. 01432/16/2/2019/Jones Bamidele/NAN
Some sensitive and non-sensitive election materials returned to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Local Government office in Suleja, Niger State, following the shift of Saturday’s (today) presidential and National Assembly elections to Feb. 23. The governorship and house of assembly, FCT area council elections have also been shifted from March 2 to March 9. 01432/16/2/2019/Jones Bamidele/NAN

The Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Peter Ameh, says Nigerians are angry with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the postponement of the general elections by one week.

He said the commission now needs to regain the confidence of the people in its capacity to conduct the elections.

Mr Ameh said this on the Sunrise Daily programme of Channels Television on Monday.

Mr Ameh, who is the National Chairman of the , emergedProgressives People’s Alliance the chairman of the council in September 2018.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that INEC postponed the presidential and National Assembly elections to February 23 and March 9 for the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.

The chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, made the announcement just hours before the polls opened for the first day of elections on Saturday.

The electoral body announced the dates for the elections and other activities in the process as far back as 2017.

But Mr Yakubu said “logistics and operational problems” forced the last minutes rescheduling of the elections on Saturday.

He said apart from the logistical challenges, there were attempts to sabotage the commission’s preparations, listing fire outbreaks at INEC facilities in three states that destroyed smart card readers and voters cards.

IPAC in Oyo State had urged INEC to ensure that all sensitive materials distributed before the poll was postponed are secured.

Mr Ameh also spoke on the decision of INEC not to reopen electioneering campaigns, which closed on Thursday night, 24 hours to the day originally scheduled for the presidential and federal legislative elections.

While briefing major stakeholders on the reasons for the postponement, Mr Yakubo said campaigns for the presidential and national assembly elections remain closed.

“It is not the responsibility of the INEC to say that there is no campaign, it is the responsibility of the law”, the IPAC chairman said.

“INEC should give Nigerians daily account of their activities in the preparation of the election,” he also said.

He said that there are procedures and regulations to be followed before postponing an election.

Mr Ameh urged Nigerians to make enquires about the legislative problems that led to the postponement of the elections.

“Nigerians should be concerned about the reasons for the postponement and the people behind it. INEC should realise that the fate of the country lies in their hand,” he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday had pledged to direct INEC to explain why it postponed the elections on Saturday about five hours before polling opened.

Mr Buhari, at a national caucus meeting of the APC in Abuja, said INEC had shown “incompetence” and “inefficiency”, and must explain to the nation what happened.

“INEC had all the time and resources, didn’t have to wait six hours to the elections to an announced postponement,” he said.

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