By Taiye Agbaje
TrackNigeria: The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tender an unreserved apology for the postponement of the Saturday’s general election.
CISLAC, which urged INEC to apologise to Nigerian voters, also urged the electoral umpire to tender an apology to local and international observers.
The Executive Director of the organisation, Mr Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, made the call in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.
“We call on INEC to tender an unreserved apology to Nigerian and international observers, who have committed their time, presence and financial resources to monitor the electoral process with assurance that election will hold as earlier scheduled.
“The apology must also be rendered to Nigerian voters who have invested time and resources to sacrifice the day for them to discharge their civic responsibility,” he said.
He said the organisation was perturbed by the sudden postponement few hours to the poll.
“We express unreserved disappointment over the reported poor preparatory processes by the electoral body that disproportionately hampered adequate deployment of electoral materials to many parts of the country with resultant postponement.
“We condemn such abrupt decision informed by deliberate abuse of independent power that may discredit subsequent position by the commission as an Independent Body before national and international observers,” he said.
According to him, we are not unaware of systemic conflict of interests and questionable procurement process imbibed by the various positions in the commission.
”We are concerned by the wastages and losses the postponement will cause the country, civil society and international community that have committed whopping financial and human resources to deployment and observation missions to ensure free, fair and credible election that will be acceptable to all,” he said.
Musa-Rafsanjani, therefore, called on the National Assembly to immediately constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate the sudden postponement to clear the commission of public doubt about its decision.
“We demand immediate assurances by the commission that the new electoral date of Feb. 23 is certain, and the distributed sensitive materials will be kept under appropriate supervision and security till the new date.
“We further encourage civil society groups, media, national and international observation missions to sustain surveillance on the electoral process to promote free, fair and credible elections that will be acceptable to all,” he said.
Also Alhaji Faruk Adamu, a Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Jigawa, has called on INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmud Yakub, to apologise to Nigerians and honorably resign for postponing the election.
Adamu made the call on Saturday in Birnin Kudu while reacting the abrupt postponement of the elections by INEC.
“INEC has disappointed all Nigerians after it left everyone on up to about 2:30 a.m. before it announced its decision to postpone the election. This is really bad for democracy.
“However, in the long run, we’re hoping that INEC will come out with cogent excuse to convince Nigerians.
“This is not about APC/PDP or any other party, it is about democracy in Nigeria.
“So INEC has not treated us well as a nation irrespective of the party we belonged to,” Adamu said.
He, therefore, urged Yakub to honorable resign since he has shown his incompetency to conduct the general election.
“This is because the decision by the commission to postpone the election has nothing to do with PDP or APC. It is just about incompetency.
“INEC is not conniving with anybody or party. The decision has nothing to do with us (APC), but it has to do with the people who are entrusted to do the job.
“The development has really cast doubt in the minds of Nigerians for the commission to conduct the election.
“And for this, if it were in Japan Yakub will have committed suicide by now or if it were in serious countries he will have resigned by now,” he said.
However, the chieftain opined that the one week postponement would enable the parties and contestants enlighten voters on how best to vote candidates of their choices.
“But how could the chairman waited until when half of Nigerians went to bed before he could announce the postponement.
“So he should just apologise and nicely resign,” Adamu said.
He further advised Nigerians to remain law abiding and wait for the time to vote for candidates of their choice. (NAN)