INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, announced that continuing with the 2019 presidential election as earlier scheduled for today, 16th February, 2019, was no longer possible, this was while briefing newsmen at the INEC headquarters.
He therefore announced that the presidential and National Assembly elections had been moved to Saturday, February 23, 2019. He also stated that the governorship and state assembly elections have also been moved to Saturday, March 9, 2019.
Here is the full statement: “Ladies and gentlemen, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met on Friday 15, February 2019, and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 general elections scheduled for Saturday, 16 February 2019, and Saturday 2 March 2019. Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan, and the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible. Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly elections to Saturday, 23 February 2019. Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly, and Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections are rescheduled to Saturday, 9 March 2019.
This will afford the commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections. This was a difficult decision for the commission to take but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy. The commission will meet with key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2pm on Saturday, 16 February 2019, at the Abuja International Conference Centre. Thank you very much.”
Following this announcement, the two major political parties PDP and APC condemned the actions of the commission. PDP called out the INEC chairman be asking him to resign. The PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, claims that the postponement of the general elections is a ploy by the incumbent President, Muhammad Buhari, to cling to power. He blames APC for this predicament and stated that having lost all other available options to cling to power, this was the next best thing. His list of options tried by the APC and INEC include but are not limited to the burning of INEC offices in some states, leading to the destruction of electoral materials to create a reason for their actions.
The APC however, released a statement on Saturday via the spokesperson for its presidential campaign council, Mr Festus, Kanayo.
” We received the news with great disappointment and disillusionment. We condemn and deprecate this tardiness of the electoral umpire in the strongest terms possible”.
He further went on to speak about neutrality in the forthcoming elections because rumour has it that the postponement was orchestrated by the main opposition, PDP.
Source: Channels, Vanguard.