INEC embarrassed Nigeria as a country, says Oshiomhole
National chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole on Saturday accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of embarrassing Nigeria as a country for postponing the general elections.
“What INEC has done is unacceptable- we condemn it. How would you postpone an election by 2:00 a.m. on the day of the election,” Oshiomhole said while reacting to an address by INEC chairman Mahmoud Yakubu in Abuja.
“On behalf of myself and the APC, we are saying that by this postponement, INEC has embarrassed us a country and it is not commendable.”
The electoral body drew criticism for postponing the general elections before a few hours of commencement on Saturday, February 16.
INEC announced that the presidential and National Assembly elections were postponed by a week citing logistic reasons.
“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 at a press briefing on Saturday morning in Abuja.
Mahmoud’s reasons for postponing the elections was greeted with criticism from political parties and their candidates, including Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking a second term in office.
“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.
Similarly to the president, the APC chairman said the last-minute shift in the election dates was “disgusting and annoying”, stating that INEC continued to assure the nation of its readiness to conduct the elections when it was not.
“As much as INEC had huge logistics to cope with, the same was for every presidential candidate with huge logistics to cope with. I am disappointed. I am shocked. I am disgusted,” Oshiomhole said.
“At least you (INEC) should have made this postponement forty-eight hours before the due time when political parties and their agents need resources to stay where they are.”
It was not the first time that INEC would postpone a scheduled general election.
In 2015, the presidential election was shifted from February 14 to March 28th, 2015, while the governorship and assembly elections scheduled for 28 February were shifted to April 11 of the same year. The elections were postponed because of security issues.
Similarly, in 2011, the National Assembly elections were postponed due to logistics failure with voting already started in some states.