Nigerians woke up from sleep on the February 16 morning to a rude shock that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not fully prepared and needed seven more days to deliver on promise. But the electorate is well prepared.
The commission rescheduled the presidential and National Assembly elections, originally slated for the 16th and March 2.
The Chairman of INEC, Dr. Mahmud Yakubu, said the presidential and National Assembly elections will now be conducted on February 23 while governorship and House of Assembly elections will be hold on the March 9.
The news break indeed broke the hearts of many in Adamawa State, setting off chain reactions from stakeholders of the major contending parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The former Vice President and presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has appealed for patience in the face of the surprise postponement of today’s polls.
He also told the electorate to be more ready to do the needful in coming postponed electiond
The PDP candidate said he was shocked and surprised that elections would be postponed a few hours to the start of actual voting.
Atiku, who spoke to newsmen at his Yola home added that he is not too worried that sensitive materials have been deployed already. “As long as they are in safe hands there should be no problem.”
“I am heading to Abuja for an emergency meeting of PDP stakeholders; afterward, we will respond.”
The former EFCC Chairman who is the Director of Field Operations Campaign Organization of APC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, describe the postponement as “unfortunate” and uncalled for as an ample time was given to INEC to fully prepare to conduct rancour and hitch-free elections.
Ribadu blamed INEC for making Nigerians have a catastrophic loss of time and resources for what would have been possibly conducted within slated time and dates.
Ribadu said APC as a party and the people are prepared well and very ready to go for the elections, having been one of the campaign strategists of the movement but only for INEC to dashed the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians.
” I’m appealing to Nigerians to stay put in the spirit of voting and make sure they come out massively to vote.”
The Adamawa State chairman of PDP, Tahir Shehu, largely blamed INEC. He said that supporters were not surprised that INEC could cite the reason of logistics because “we had objected over INEC’s partnership with Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW)
Tahir said, “What INEC has done has cast a dark shadow on the country Nigeria.
“We are calling on security agencies and the regulatory body not to ignite a crisis in the country.
Nigerians everywhere in the country will not take any kind of manipulation.
“We call on Nigerians to come out and defend their votes; 1,000 people can organize rigging but two people only can foil it.”
Speaking on the logistics arrangement in Adamawa, the PDP chair said, “INEC gave us only 200 tags for our agents when we needed about 4,000 because we have about 4,000 voting points in Adamawa and more than 2,609 polling units.
“The state APC submitted names of only agents of seven local governments. We submitted for all the local governments, yet we are the ones without the tags.
“We had earlier warned about INEC’s partnership with NURTW who openly endorsed the sitting president. We are calling on the security agencies to desist from meddling in elections. APC has already seen the handwriting on the wall and Atiku is the one Nigerians want right now.”
The public relations officer of APC, Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi, lamented the postponement but extolled government for providing all the necessary things for good elections to be conducted by INEC. Whatever the case may be, he opined, let it be the best for the country.
“In reality, INEC has confirmed to Nigerians whatever they wanted in terms of ogistics have been given to them by the government, they should have adequately prepared before telling us that they were ready for the elections. Bad as it may seem, let us hope that INEC discovers their lapses and they will conduct credible elections that Nigeria and Nigerians will be proud of.”
The interim traditional ruler of Mbula Kingdom, Mr. Fenny Fwa, wrote on his Facebook page calling on INEC, “Please have a human face.”
He called Nigeria the eighth wonder of the world. A country of 180 million with a pool of the best brains in the world, can not for more than 3 years since INEC was reconstituted on 21st October 2015, organize a simple election.
He said the same thing happened in 2015 general election, where Prof Jega had to postpone the election,but Jega according to him was having a human face because he put the politicians on adequate notice because by announcing the postponement on 7th of February 2015, an event that was to take place on the 14th of the same month and was postponed for six weeks to give adequate time for preparations.
“The annoying thing is, why would the commission wait until on Saturday, the day of the election to postpone the election when all the candidates had exhausted their resources in preparation? This postponement, no matter how sound the reasoning is, has no human face; it ought to have been done much earlier.
“This eleventh-hour postponement of the general election is a confirmation our woes as a rudderless, disorganised people who lack the gravitas to surmount our development problems.
Fellow compatriots, we are in trouble,” Fwa said.