The Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District at upper chambers of the national assembly Senator Dino Melaye has also joined well meaning Nigerians to react to the postponement of the general election that was announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday.
See Full statement below:
PRESS RELEASE BY SENATOR DINO MELAYE ON THE POSTPONEMENT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION BY INEC
The news of the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections came to Nigerians and indeed the International Community as a rude shock. This is given the fact that INEC issued the timetable and schedule of activities for the elections over one year ago, on 9th of January 2018. INEC had received adequate monies, for the conduct of the election. A total sum of N143.51 billion was budgeted and released to INEC for the 2019 election.
Mahmood Yakubu was confirmed as the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission on October 21, 2015. He had over three years to prepare for the 2019 election. He had announced the time table for the conduct of the 2019 election over a year ago on the 9th of January, 2018. Why then should the election be cancelled just a few hours to its conduct, by INEC?
The reasons adduced by the INEC Chairman as necessitating the late cancellation or postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, are ludicrous. The fact that within a period of 16 months, INEC registered over 14 million Nigerians as new voters, collecting their names, addresses, photographs and their entire ten fingerprints, prepared, printed and delivered their permanent voter’s cards for collection ought not to have been and are not credible excuses for the National embarrassment, foisted on Nigeria and indeed Nigerians, by INEC’s postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections. INEC Chairman, had over three years to prepare for this election and had all the financial support it needed.
The fact that there are 40 different court orders against the Commission on whether to add or drop candidates should not also have constituted an excuse for the cancellation of the election. INEC and sometimes, its chairman, were made parties to these cases. INEC has a legal department who either handles these cases or gives it out to private law firms to handle on their behalf. The candidates and parties whose matters were or are still in court are already known to INEC over two months ago after the conduct of the various party primaries. INEC should have reasonably known that such cases could go either way and ought to have made contingent preparations for any outcome of such pending court cases.
In this era of technological advancement when through sophisticated machines, the weather forecast for even up to a year can be gotten, it should not be heard, that INEC did not make adequate provisions bearing in mind, the weather condition of each state of the Federation. Transportation of sensitive material to each state of the Federation ought to have been done earlier bearing in mind the weather conditions peculiar to each region of the federation. There are branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in each state of the Federation. These materials could have been transported either by air or land, weeks before the said election, and kept in safe custody of the Central bank.
INEC’s failure to conduct the election is akin to the failure of a man whose wife is pregnant, to prepare ahead of delivery, and who incidentally leaves his wife stranded in the hospital for lack of preparation. I condemn this postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, by INEC, strongly.
INEC Chairman’s justifications for the postponement of the election is trifling. So many questions are begging for an answer with the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections. INEC is not complaining of the inadequacy of budgetary provisions but other variables which ordinarily should have been reasonably foreseen and adequately provided for. The issue of the destruction of card reader machines and permanent voters cards are issues that INEC should have adequately provided for since they are reasonably foreseeable. Why did INEC fail to make contingent arrangements for additional card readers? Why did INEC fail to move the logistics or sensitive materials to all the locations they were needed before the postponed election? Why did INEC fail to make contingent arrangements in respect of pending court cases to which INEC itself was a party? Why did INEC wait till few hours to the election before announcing ignominiously, its cancellation?
Nigerians believe that INEC is merely acting the scripts of the ruling APC. Otherwise, how else can this colossal national embarrassment be explained?
I, therefore, call on INEC, to redeem its shaky image, not just in the eyes of Nigerians, but that of the International Community, by ensuring that it does not yield to the ungodly pressures from the ruling APC, as was witnessed in Ekiti and Osun State. INEC should make the entire process as transparent as possible. INEC should not be seen to favour any political party against the others. INEC has started on a wrong note in its conduct of 2019 election. Nigerians must open their eyes to fake ballot papers on election day. Party agents must examine all ballot papers before giving them out to electorates. The time to redeem the already shattered image of INEC is now. After all, they say, “once beaten, twice shy”!
SEN DINO MELAYE
KOgi West Senatorial District.