INEC’s Reasons for Postponing Elections Not Justified – NBA

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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.”

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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.”

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