By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
An avalanche of reactions have begun to trail the Independent National Electoral Commission’s announcement on Saturday postponing this month’s general election in the country.
The presidential /federal legislative election is now scheduled to take place on March 28th while the governorship/state houses of assembly election is slated for April 11 as against the 14 and 28 of this month initially fixed by the electoral commission.
Announcing the postponement, INEC’s chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the shift became imperative as a result of the hiccups that trailed the PVC collection by voters and other security challenges in the country.
He added that the postponement was necessitated by the security advice from security chiefs, explaining that the security chiefs told INEC that they were commencing a six-week special operation against Boko Haram insurgents in the North-eastern corridors of the country and that they could not guarantee the security of lives of INEC officials if the commission went ahead with the poll. While speaking with WESTERN POST, some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oluyole Local Government area in Ward 3 lamented the postponement of the election, saying Nigerians should resist it. According to Adenike Akiyode, a member of the party in the local government, the postponement of the election was uncalled for, adding that the electoral body should have held a public hearing before embarking on the postponement.
This, in her view, was a minus for a free and fair election in the country. In a similar view, another member of the party in the local government, Mr. Biodun Olafikun Ahmed, said the postponement of the polls should not have come at this point in time when all Nigerians were fully prepared for the poll.
He stated further that PVC collection should not be the reason for the shift.
Ahmed noted that the lackadaisical attitude of some INEC staff responsible for the distribution of the PVC led to the delay witnessed in some local governments in the state, stating that, that should not warrant the postponement.
He said those who were unable to collect their PVCs could still do so at the INEC’s office, even a day to the election, which according to him, did not call for the postponement, alleging that PDP is out to rig the election. In a reaction to the allegation that PDP is out to rig, a member of the party who spoke with WESTERN POST under the condition of anonymity observed that shifting the date of the election was not an avenue to rig election as being peddled by the opposition, but a way of making the electoral process a free, fair and credible one.
He said the security challenges in the country was not good enough to proceed with the election as scheduled. In an interview with WESTERN POST, APC pokesperson in Oyo State, Mr. Olawale Sadare, lamented the postponement, pointing out that Prof. Jega should not have based his action on the security report giving to him by security chiefs, which he said could not have been the reason for the shift. While speaking with WESTERN POST on the election postponement, the Ibadan Zonal coordinator of ASUU, Professor Segun Ajiboye, asked Nigerians not to be frustrated by the polls shift, but be organised to collect their Permanent Voter Cards. According to Ajiboye, hiding under security ruse would not help those he called a cabal to frustrate the genuine efforts of Nigerians seeking change.
He condemned the poll shift by the electoral umpire, saying the decision was a serious setback for Nigerian democracy. Prof Ajiboye urged Nigerians to organise towards ensuring that the new set of leaders that would emerge in the country are those with genuine interest for the masses.