The Nigerian Bar Association on Saturday expressed disappointment in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for postponing the commencement of the general elections to February 23.
In a statement by its President, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), the association said none of the reasons preferred by the commission’s chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, justified the postponement.
He said, more diligence on the part of the INEC, the hitches on which the commission based the rescheduling of the polls could be remediated in order for the elections to hold on Saturday as originally planned.
The statement read in part, “The Nigerian Bar Association is confounded by and disappointed with the postponement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (“INEC”), in the wee hours of this morning, of the elections that were scheduled to hold today, 16 February 2019 and on 02 March 2019.
“We are confounded by the postponement, considering the serial assurances that INEC had, prior to this morning, given of its preparedness for the conduct of the elections; INEC had also expressly assured that postponement of the elections was not howsoever in contemplation.
“Our disappointment is compounded by the fact that none of the reasons that INEC has proffered justifies the postponement; all the reasons, with some diligence, could have been remediated.”
Usoro said it was “particularly unkind for INEC to announce the postponement only hours to the opening of the polls for the national elections today, knowing as we all do that most Nigerians register for elections in their States of origin and had traveled there from their various stations to exercise their civic rights.”
He added, “The cost in man hours, resources, and inconveniences cannot be readily quantified not to mention the risk to personal safety. Worse, we run the risk that some who may have to return to their workstations early next week may not be able to travel again for the rescheduled polls next weekend.”
Usoro, however, urged Nigerians not to give up or tire out but must ensure they vote during the rescheduled polls.
He said, “We must give INEC the benefit of the doubt and turn out in our numbers to vote for the parties of our choice on the rescheduled dates for the elections i.e. 23 February 2019 and 09 March 2019.”