• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Election in view: HRAN condemns call for postponement

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The Human Rights Agenda Network (HRAN) has condemned the recent calls for postponement of the February 14 and 28 general elections and urges the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to go ahead with its preparation for the elections.

In a statement released on Tuesday, HRAN, comprising 330 civil society organisations in Nigeria, said it considers those asking that the election be postponed as unpatriotic and mischievous.

“The election calendar has been fixed for over a year now and INEC has demonstrated its preparedness to conduct credible election by making efforts to see that every registered voter gets his or her Permanent Voters Card before the election date. INEC has extended the collection date to February 8. All the citizens need to do is to go their designated collection centers and collect their cards” said Chino Obiagwu, Chair of the steering committee of the network.

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HRAN is concerned that any shift in the election timetable will adversely affect Nigeria’s democratic process and may result in deep legal and political crises. They noted that no cogent reasons have been given by those calling for election postponement.

“The state of insecurity in the northeast region is not a sufficient reason to postpone the election because there is no guarantee that the security situation will improve in the coming weeks and months. To postpone the elections for reasons of insecurity is to postpone indefinitely. Clearly,  postponement is no solution to insecurity,” Obiagwu further said.

The group maintains that failure of many registered voters to collect their PVCs was also not sufficient reason because INEC has said it is ready to continue to distribute the cards till the eve of the elections. It is commended INEC for demonstrating considerable improvement in the preparations for the elections and in its articulated and fair response to the challenges of the short period of time for production and distribution of PVCs.

HRAN has also urged INEC to adopt bold measures to ensure distribution of the PVCs to all registered voters before February 14.

“Whilst we note that INEC enjoys public confidence based on demonstrated transparency of its leadership, it must also demonstrate administrative competence and design an effective distribution system including within camps of internally displaced persons,” the Chair emphasized.

HRAN further called on the state and federal governments to declare a day within this week a public holiday to give public servants the opportunity to travel to their PVC collection centers. It also called on Nigerians, to regard those clamouring for election postponement as enemies of democracy – with self-serving motives and must not be allowed to put the country into another round of political crises.