Elections postponement not politically influenced, says INEC
Nigeria’s electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday said its decision to postponed the general elections a few hours to the commencement was not politically influenced.
“The decision (to postpone the election) has nothing to do with security, nothing to do with political influence and nothing to do with lack of resources,” INEC chairman Mahmoud Yakubu said at a press conference.
The postponement heightens the political tensions in the country, especially between the ruling All Progressives Congress and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party.
The parties have accused INEC of kowtowing down to the political influence exerted by either party to postpone the elections which ought to begin the presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, February 16 2019.
PDP and APC faulted INEC’s decision to reschedule the presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on February 23 while the governorship and state houses of assembly elections will take place on March 9.
Also, PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar believed that the postponement was aimed at disenfranchising the people’s civic right and democracy of the country.
Incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari also said he was not responsible for the postponement of the election.
Buhari questioned why INEC would continue to assure the electorates of its readiness to conduct the elections when it was not ready. He added that the federal government had provided INEC with all resources and funding needed to carry commence the electoral process.
“I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement,” Buhari said in a statement on Saturday.
However, INEC chairman Yakubu said the shortage of logistics was responsible for the postponement.
“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan, and the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible,” Yakubu said while postponing the election.
The INEC boss said the commission is constitutionally empowered to postpone an election when it realises hinderances of any type.
He stated that the shortage of logistics in all 774 local governments in the country does not make the commencement of the election feasible.