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Minister faults Oshiomhole over call for INEC chairman’s resignation

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[FILE PHOTO] Adams Oshiomhole, APC leader

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has disagreed with the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, over his call asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to resign over the postponement of the general elections.

He described the advocacy as unfair and unacceptable.

Addressing reporters yesterday in Ibadan, Shittu, who flayed the ex-labour leader for conducting “shoddy primaries “, maintained that if the chairman of the electoral body resigns, it might affect the conduct of the rescheduled polls this weekend.

The minister queried: “When Oshiomhole supervised horrible primaries of the party, who called for his resignation?”

Besides a Professor of Law at Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Auwalu Hamish Yadudu, and a constitutional lawyer/Executive Director of Global Centre For Peace & Justice, Dr. Anthony Agbazuere, have given vent to resumption of campaigns by the political parties.

In the wake of the postponement of the 2019 general elections by the electoral commission at the weekend, its chair had outlawed fresh electioneering.

Reacting to the order, the duo maintained that any political groups that so desire to re-open rallies could proceed, as their action is backed by law.

The senior university lecturer also cautioned the electoral body against plugging the nation into an unnecessary crisis if it knew the one-week interval would not be sufficient to right the lapses that prompted the shift in the first place.

In an exclusive chat with The Guardian in Kano, the don maintained that INEC was not on any safe or sound legal footing to restrict political parties to continue canvassing votes, noting that the reasons put forward by the commission may not overrule the position of the constitution which stipulates 24 hours before the polls.

Speaking with journalists in Umuahia, Agbazuere stated that “it is a national embarrassment that the INEC chairman could not consult his legal department or look at the laws before issuing such an unlawful decree that is of no moment.

In a related development, the Abia State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Johnson Onuigbo, said the electoral body could end rigging if election materials were lawfully distributed and well protected.

He, nonetheless, commended Prof. Yakubu for resolving against staggered polls.

Also yesterday, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) said the ugly scenario could have been avoided had INEC taken the logistics support offered by it.

Its president, Adekunle Mokuolu, claimed that the electoral umpire did not accept the society’s offer to execute logistics for the 2019 polls.

He stated that the rescheduling of the elections was sad, avoidable, embarrassing and had occasioned an enormous waste of financial resources and monumental depletion of the national economy.

The chastisement comes, as the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) considers subsidy for travelling voters to exercise their franchise.

The union’s national president, Najeem Yasin, said: “NURTW hereby pledges to subsidise cost of transportation in favour of such voters wishing to go back to their respective voting units to cast their ballots.”


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