2019!!! INEC Receives Powerful Marching Order Over Election Postponement - ROUND GIST

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Sunday, 17 February 2019

2019!!! INEC Receives Powerful Marching Order Over Election Postponement

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has received a powerful marching order from foreign observers who called on them to ensure the new dates they fixed conduct of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria are adhered to and that no further postponement occurs.

The observers, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) and the Election Observation Platform (EOP), released joint statements on the postponement saying that postponing the elections constituted a threat to the integrity of the nation’s electoral system and went on to call on the commission to regularly inform the people of Nigeria about the preparations for the elections.

A copy of the statement given to a Punch correspondent in Abuja on Saturday reads:

“We, the heads of the international election observation missions and the United Nations present in Nigeria, have taken note of the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission to postpone the 2019 general elections due to logistical and operational challenges. While we note that this decision has caused disappointment for many, we call on all Nigerians to continue to remain calm and supportive of the electoral process as INEC works to implement its new timeline.

“We urge INEC to use this time to finalise all preparations and ensure that the new election dates are strictly adhered to.”

The Chairman of TMG, Dr Abiola Akiode-Afolabi, and the Chairman of HEDA, Mr Suraj Olanrewaju, said this at a joint press briefing in Lagos on Saturday following the postponement of the presidential and the National Assembly elections to February 23 while The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) asked the National Assembly to investigate the poll delay while criticising INEC for the logistical problems that marred the distribution of electoral materials before the postponement.

Also, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was planning to suspend the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu in a statement by its spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere.

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has urged Nigerians not to be discouraged from coming out to vote on February 23 because of the postponement.

Tinubu, who is a Co-Chairman of the APC’s Presidential Campaign Council, said this in a statement by his Media Office in reaction to the poll shift. The former Lagos State governor expressed dissatisfaction with the poll shift, saying the Independent National Electoral Commission ought not to have waited until the election day before taking the decision.

He said this would have lessened the feeling of disappointment expressed by Nigerians, urging them to troop out and vote on February 23.

The statement read, “We are also perplexed that INEC literally waited so late in the day to make known the obstacles preventing it from keeping faith to the election schedule. INEC could have and should have given the nation more ample and earlier warning. This could have perhaps lessened the pervasive disappointment that we all now feel. It also would have helped people to better order their steps. Do not allow this delay to deter you from the expression of your democratic rights. What you had set your mind to do on February 16, keep your mind and heart on for February 23.”

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