By Sunday Ani and Chukwudi Nweje
The Afenifere and the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) have commended the one-week postponement of the governorship and House of Assembly election.
The groups noted that the development would help INEC put its house in order to avert running into the same obstacles it witnessed during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
But Aka Ikenga said there was more to the postponement than the Commission chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu admitted.
In separate telephone interviews, Afenifere and AYCF representatives noted that there was nothing extraordinary about the postponement and noted that it would help INEC get the election right this time around.
National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi charged the electoral commission to ensure it uses the postponement to ensure it resolves whatever obstacles prevented it from uploading the presidential election result to its server in real time to avoid the kind of controversy trailing the presidential election result.
He urged Nigerians to give INEC a chance to do the needful hoping that the polls would be free, fair and peaceful on March 18, even as he urged eligible voters to go out and vote candidates of their choice.
“This is not the first time an election would be postponed in Nigeria. it happened under former president, Goodluck Jonathan. INEC said it was to enable it reconfigure the BVAS machines. It said the reconfiguration process would take about five days, and the court only gave the Commission the nod on Wednesday which is less than five days to the polls.
“One week is not too far. Some people may think INEC should have anticipated that but they are human. I appeal to Nigerians to exercise patience, March 18 is almost here.”
AYCF president, Yerima Shettima said it was better Nigerians give INEC a chance to prepare than complain later.
“I don’t see anything wrong with that. Only few days ago, there was an election in Nigeria and so many people were raising eyebrow about that, saying it was not free and fair, there was rigging, there was lack of transparency and all that. So, if INEC now decides to postpone the governorship and assembly elections to get it right this time, I don’t see anything wrong with that. It is better we get it right than never. So, we commend INEC because they have done well and we will stand by them any day any time,” he posited.
Former president of Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike argued that Prof. Mahmood Yakuku is the only chairman of INEC to have served two terms as head of the electoral commission and should have learnt how the electioneering process works.
“In other words, one can forgive him for the mistakes in his first term when he similarly postponed the 2019 elections. Prof. Yakubu is lucky that he must have learnt not only from the 2019 elections but also the various off season elections. In all these cases, he had stumbled, got up, corrected himself and learnt to properly plan the election schedules. To have misjudged the period of elections, the spacing and the logistics means that something is fundamentally wrong.
“The excuse of reconfiguring is a hogwash. Did INEC not know that it will reconfigure the BVAS? If so, did INEC not know the length of time it will take? Or is INEC fooling everyone since the presidential candidates applied for the certification of the election materials?
“In 2019, INEC vociferously denied the presence of server. Uploading of results from the BVAS worked excellently for the National Assembly election but failed for the presidential election. Who is fooling who? INEC is taking us for a ride.”