The gubernatorial candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in Oyo State, Adebayo Adelabu, and his Action Democratic Party (ADP) counterpart, Adebayo Alao-Akala have reacted to the postponement of the general elections.
Those who also reacted are the African Democratic Congress (ADC) candidate, Olufemi Lanlehin and a former governor of the state, Rashidi Ladoja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had in the early hours of Saturday announced the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections billed to take place last Saturday.
The commission said it shifted the elections and next week ‘s gubernatorial and house of assembly elections to February 23 and March 9 respectively.
In his reaction, Mr Adelabu urged the electorate in the state and the country in general to be more vigilant.
The APC candidate in a statement by his spokesman, Bayo Busari, urged the electorate not to be discouraged by the election postponement.
“Adelabu however appealed to the voters not to be discouraged by the shift in election dates. APC candidates in this year’s general elections have done their best in the campaigns. Adelabu expressed the confidence that the shift was just a little delay in their date of victory.
“INEC should remain impartial in the elections in order to ensure fairness and credibility of the process. The postponement of the elections, the third in eight years, does not portray the election umpire as having a full control of the process.”
In his reaction, Mr Alao-Akala said the postponement was ill-timed and a sad development for the country.
He made this known at his Opadoyin Lodge in Ogbomoso.
He said it was a disgraceful and inconsiderate act considering the stress that people had gone through to have a successful exercise.
According to him, the loss that the postponement will cause many people and the attendant difficulties imposed on the people as a whole is enormous and unwarranted.
“I am sad, it is unfortunate that election will be postponed a few hours to the commencement of the exercise. I am sorry for Nigeria; we should not be on this level at this period. What happens to the manpower already expended and human capital resource? Can you imagine what corp members drafted into the exercise were made to go through?
“Did they even consider the loss many people will be forced to incur as a result of the unexpected change. Who pays for these losses and inconveniences? This postponement is ill-timed and a bad decision. INEC had a long period to plan, it was counting down, yet, the commission had to wait till very few hours to start before postponing.”
‘Postponing Impending defeat’
Mr Lanlehin in his reaction described it as ”postponement of impending defeat and disgrace that awaits the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates in the state.”
Mr Lanlehin in a statement signed by his campaign’s spokesperson, Akeem Olatunji, said the disgrace that awaits the candidates of the APC and the PDP was just postponed.
He listed those that would be ‘disgraced’ as Governor Abiola Ajimobi, Teslim Folarin, Fatai Buhari representing Oyo South, Oyo Central and Oyo North Senatorial District respectively ”and other candidates of the APC and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state”.
“The ADC would have disgraced both the ruling APC and the PDP candidates in Oyo State today (Saturday) but with the postponement, INEC was just postponing the doom day of both parties, victory remains with the ADC with the support of the electorate in the state.
“We are optimistic that the electorate have matured enough to choose their preferred candidates without any form of inducement from either the ruling APC or the PDP because both have been tested and failed the people of Oyo state.
“We want our party members and supporters to remain calm and we want to assure them that all the APC’s plan to rig the elections have been foil(ed). With this postponement, we would also return to drawing board to re-strategise to combat any new rigging plan they may want to come out with by the ruling party.”
Meanwhile, Mr Ladoja has described the postponement as a collosal loss for the country.
Mr Ladoja, who addressed journalists noted that INEC chairman and other principal officers at the headquarters should be sacked for incompetence.
The Zenith Labour Party chieftain lamented that the police and army had mobilised just like the electoral officers before the election was postponed barely four hours before the commencement of the elections.
He wondered why INEC did not envisage the postponement on Thursday.
The Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland said the implication of the postponement “is that the whole world is not taking us seriously again.”
He also worried that schools had closed down, wondering if the students were still going to stay at home again till next week.
Mr Ladoja said he has lost confidence in INEC.
He also described INEC’s action as “criminal negligence” and charged the president to sack any indicted official.
Also, the Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Wasiu Musah, expressed disappointment over the development.
Mr Musah, who is vying for the House of Representatives seat in Saki West, Saki East and Atisbo federal constituency under the platform of the ADC, in a statement on Saturday also condemned the action.
He urged relevant outfits to deploy operatives to the INEC local government headquarters to protect the sensitive and non-sensitive materials still in their custody.
“It is our firm belief that INEC should remain impartial and stay true to its core objectives of conducting free, fair, and credible elections,” he added.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999