By Emmanuel Mogbede
#TrackNigeria: The National Caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged security agencies to ensure that those involved in violence, ballot box snatching, and falsification of election results faced the full weight of the law.
This was part of resolutions reached at the end of the Caucus emergency meeting held at its national secretariat on Monday in Abuja.
According to a communique issued and signed by Mr Adams Oshiomhole, the APC National Chairman, the Caucus also resolved that the Feb. 23 rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections must remain sacrosanct.
It added that issues of logistics and other foreseeable challenges experienced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that prompted the postponement of the elections must be addressed to ensure that the elections does not suffer any hitch whatsoever.
The Caucus expressed curiosity over the fact that certain leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had full knowledge of the plan to postpone the elections hours before INEC made the announcement.
The Caucus, therefore, urged INEC to demonstrate its independence and neutrality beyond doubts in all of its activities before, during and after the period of elections as rescheduled.
It expressed deep regrets over the unfortunate death of some of the party’s members due to stampede as a result of overwhelming crowds during the party’s presidential campaigns in some states of the federation.
The communique said the Caucus received with shock and disbelief, the last minute postponement of the Feb. 16 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
It reiterated the party’s disappointment over the postponement of the elections, considering especially, the repeated assurances by INEC that all challenges would be resolved before the elections.
“Notwithstanding the disappointment over the postponement, the Caucus urged all APC members across the country to rise above this temporary setback,” the communique said.
It charged members of the party to recommit themselves to working with re-doubled efforts for the victory of all its candidates in the Feb. 23 and March 9 rescheduled dates for the elections.
It urged all APC members to immediately commence campaigns in line with the provisions of Section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act, which stated clearly that campaigns should stop 24 hours to the elections.
“Our party will therefore abide by the provisions of the law,” the communique said.
It, however, observed that the list of presiding officers in the States and Local Government Areas published by INEC prior to the aborted Feb. 16 elections contained names of mostly PDP card carrying members.
It, therefore, urged INEC to take steps to correct this anomaly to ensure fairness and credibility of the electoral process.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the APC national caucus which is a statutory organ of the party, was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari and had the Vice President and all the party’s former and serving governors as members.
Its membership also includes the party’s serving governors, and members of its National Working Committee (NWC), among others.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had a few hours to commencement of the presidential and National Assembly elections announced the rescheduling of the elections by one week.
By the postponement, the Presidential and National Assembly elections now come up on Feb. 23, while the Governorship and State House of Assembly and FCT Area Councils elections come up on March 9.
Yakubu had said the decision to postpone the elections was taken after a meeting with INEC Commissioners, citing “logistics’’ problems as issues that prompted the postponement.
He said the decision was further necessitated after reviewing the level of the commission’s preparedness for the exercise.
He stressed that postponing the elections was a difficult decision, but was necessary for the successful delivery of the free, fair and credible elections and to consolidate on Nigeria’s democracy. (NAN)