ON THE POSTPONEMENT OF THE GENERAL ELECTIONS – INEC HAS GOOFED
We condemn in its totality, the recent decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to postpone the earlier scheduled Presidential and Governorship elections to six weeks from February 14 to March 28 and February 28 to April 11, 2015 respectively. The excuse given by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, that the Commission took the informed decision based on the advice given by the National Security authorities that they need more time to curtail the activities of insurgents in Northern Nigeria so as to enable security operatives provide the needed security to allow INEC conduct the elections freely, is not only preposterous and unjustifiable, but also laughable and unfounded.
Prof. Jega cannot tell Nigerians that “INEC is ready for the most part, but the Security bodies are not.” Why should INEC tell Nigerians close to a year ago, which they reiterated some months, weeks and even few days back, that they are ready and keen to go ahead with the elections only for INEC to now turn around to postpone the elections based on security concerns? The issue of insecurity perpetrated by the Boko Haram sect has been on the nation’s neck for years now, so what makes INEC think that anything will change in the next six weeks? Why postpone the elections now; just one week to the earlier scheduled date? Why didn’t INEC postpone the elections earlier before now? Why didn’t the so called security operatives not advice INEC about their security concerns in the conduct of the elections before now? What magic will the security operatives perform in six weeks that they have not been able to do all these past months?
What happens if after six weeks, the so called security concerns raised by the security authorities have not been addressed? Will INEC then postpone the elections again,bearing in mind that it has to follow constitutional provisions to finish the elections 30days before the handover date of May 29? Did INEC even consider the financial implications the said postponement will have the nation’s purse? Not to mention the emotional tension and psychological apprehension which the ‘heated up’ political atmosphere has had on Nigerians that are prying for the elections to come and go.
The cross of the matter is that this election postponement is highly condemnable and ill-advised. What guarantees can INEC give to Nigerians that the same security concerns, which has made them to postpone the elections, will be addressed within six weeks? If we look at it carefully, there are no guarantees. This development clearly tells us that indeed, the electoral umpire has been under pressure from interests in high places, as being speculated recently. Some have even suggested that this could be a strategy by some political interests in high places to have more time in their hands to manipulate and put things in place to rig the election in their favour? Whatever the case may be, the election postponement by INEC for six weeks, is ‘very suspicious’ and will definitely worsen the already fractured ‘trust’ Nigerians have about INEC in conducting a free, fair, credible and transparent elections.
INEC should take this from us, whether the elections are postponed one year from now due to security concerns, it will still not make any significant difference because it has become obvious that until the war against terror is handled with”all sincerity of purpose”, the nation will continue to grapple with insecurity issues. So INEC ought to have maintained its earlier stand and courageously carry out the planned elections as earlier scheduled. For not being able to do this, INEC has goofed and it is really rather unfortunate.
Zik Gbemre, JP.
Niger Delta Peace Coalition (NDPC)
No.28, Opi Street Ugboroke Layout, Effurun-Warri,
P.O. Box 2254, Warri, Delta State, Nigeria.