INEC legally empowered to postpone elections – Lawyers

By Suleiman Shehu

#TrackNigeria: Mr Kazem Gbadamosi, former Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ibadan branch, says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the legal backing to postpone elections.

INEC on Friday announced the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly as well as Governorship and State Assembly elections earlier slated for Feb. 16 and March 2 to Feb. 23 and March 9 respectively.

Gbadamosi in an interview in Ibadan, said the electoral Act empowered INEC to postpone elections if it envisaged any difficulty with materials or security that would affect the conduct of a free, fair and credible elections.

“The problem we have in Nigeria is that people read meanings into every issue even if it was of law.

“If you take the right decision, people will say it was because of this or that.

“Though, I am yet to read the reason for the postponement of the election by INEC but to ordinary Nigerians the reasons may not be tenable.

“We are all aware that election materials got burnt in Anambra State and 66 persons also killed in Kaduna State few days to election day,’’ gbadamosi said.

He said if INEC suspected that there would be violence and breakdown of law and order, it would in the good interest of Nigeria not go on with the election.

Also speaking, another Ibadan based legal practitioner, Mr Adams Oladimeji, said this was not the first time INEC would be postponing elections in Nigeria as it happened in 2015 under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Oladimeji said INEC had the legal backing to postpone election for the good of the country and it would be wrong to condemn INEC for postponing the election.

The legal practitioner was optimistic that INEC must have some intelligent information that could lead to loss of lives that prompted them to postpone the election to avoid unnecessary crisis.

“I know very well that INEC will not postponed the election if there are no good reasons for doing so.

“INEC is an independent body not controlled by the federal or state government, though some people rumour it to be so but I do not believe it.

“The International community is watching and I am sure INEC will not want to fail by conducting an election that will not be free and fair,’’ oladimeji said. (NAN)

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