The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has expressed shock over the postponement of the General Elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
It also expressed disappointment over the Commission’s delay in the distribution of election materials in several parts of the country, prior to the shift of dates of both the national and state elections by one week.
Clement Nwankwo, Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) and Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, stated this while reacting to the postponement of the general election by the electoral body.
The Situation Room, which consists of over 70 civil society organisations in Nigeria, also wondered why the commission gave false hope to Nigerians that it was ready to conduct the exercise.
The statement reads: “Against the background of assurances given by INEC on its preparedness, this current situation comes to us as a disappointment.
“Situation Room calls on INEC to be upfront, truthful and transparent with the Nigerian people with respect to the challenges they are facing that may affect the polls.
“INEC owes it to Nigerians to provide clear explanation on why we are having conversations about deployment of materials in this late hour. The credibility of election depends not just on the efficiency of INEC to manage its processes but also in its ability to communicate honestly with the stakeholders.
“We call on all stakeholders especially the political parties to approach any challenge this process throws up with patriotism and commitment to peaceful and legal resolution of conflicts”.
In the early hours of Saturday, INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, announced the shift in the date of the Presidential and National Assembly elections from February 16 to 23 as well as the governorship and state assembly elections from March 2 to 9 due to logistics reasons.
BusinessDay reports that this is the third consecutive time that the nation’s General Elections would be postponed.
In 2011, then INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, a professor, announced the postponement of the polls due to logistics challenges.
Similarly, in 2015, the Jega-led INEC also postponed the general elections for security reasons.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja