By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, on Monday, berated the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomohle, over the statement credited to him, calling for the resignation of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, over the rescheduling of the presidential and national assembly elections, querying him that when he supervised a horrible primary elections of the party, who called for his resignation?
The Minister who spoke with reporters at his Ibadan residence on the rescheduling of the general elections, urged Nigerians to give the INEC chairman a benefit of the doubt, noting that even if he (INEC chairman) resigns, the election might need to be postponed for the new incoming chairman to prepare for fresh elections.
He said: “I will not support such call for resignation of the INEC chairman. To err is human. We have not seen any political motivation as to what has happened in INEC. If Oshiomohle calls for resignation of the INEC chairman, he should also be preparing to resign as chairman. Did anybody ask him to resign for the horrible management of primary elections under his watch?
“This is the first election that Professor Yakubu will be conducting, so we need to give him the benefit of the doubt and; I will advise that all the political parties should be vigilant. If you bring in another chairman, when does such person begin to learn the process? Or will you on the bases of that call for another rescheduling of the elections? Certainly, it is unacceptable for anyone to ask for resignation of INEC chairman,” he said.
Speaking on the banning of the election campaign before 48 hours to elections, the legal luminary reasoned that such ban could not be justified by the commission, saying that the constitutional provisions which stipulated 48 hours before the election should be upheld.
“They must justify the ban on campaign under the law. Campaign must stop 48 hours before the elections. Political parties can make use of the best of the time. In largely illiterate areas, many of the electorate must have forgot what they have been taught particularly on how to vote and how to identify the party logos. I will say any ban extended beyond 48 hours will not be justified by anyone,” he stated.