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CSOs say INEC’s credibility, competency in doubt

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PHOTO: Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has said the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) decision to postpone the polls has cast a cloud of doubt on the body’s credibility and competence to conduct elections.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing, the head of the Situation Room, Clement Nwakwo, regretted that the development has created needless tension and confusion in the country, adding that INEC has a duty to be honest and transparent with Nigerians.

He said: “The Nigerian Situation Room expresses disappointment and shock at the postponement of the polls despite assurances from INEC that everything was ready for the elections.

“The Situation Room calls on INEC to immediately provide clear explanation to Nigerians and stakeholders on what went wrong and steps to be taken to ensure that this does not happen again.

“INEC must inform Nigerians what steps it is taking to hold persons responsible for this fiasco to account. INEC has the onerous task of reassuring Nigerians in the light of these unfortunate events, especially with respect to transparency of polls, collation and enforcement of rules. The Commission needs to explain to Nigerians how it will address the extra financial and logistics burden this has occasioned, as well as the management and integrity of already distributed materials.

“There is no doubt this postponement has imposed unforeseen financial and logistics burden on political parties, candidates, businesses and indeed the generality of Nigerians. We sympathise with Nigerians and urge restraints in the face of this sad postponement. We particularly call on political parties and candidates to put Nigeria first and ensure that every grievance is channeled through appropriate quarters.

“In period of national uncertainties, fake news and hate speech could be destabilising. We urge restraint and call on all stakeholders to refrain from misinformation and inciting comments capable of undermining peace and security. Security agencies are called upon to remain professional and neutral, as we collectively confront this challenge.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the treatment of National Youth Corp members. The heart-breaking pictures of these brave young men and women sleeping in open fields without any arrangement for their security and safety is disappointing. We call on INEC and indeed all Nigerians to reach out to these youths and provide whatever support necessary to keep them fed and safe.”


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