IPAC urges Nigerians to support INEC

The Lagos Chapter of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has appealed to Nigerians to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to deliver credible elections.

The state Chairman of the council, Malam Shakirudeen Olofin, made the call on Saturday in Lagos, while reacting to the rescheduling of the Presidential, National Assembly, governorship and FCT area council polls by the electoral umpire.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, announced the rescheduling after an emergency meeting of the commission late Friday, saying the Presidential/NASS elections earlier fixed for Feb.16 would now hold on Feb. 23.

He added that the governorship election had also been shifted by one week, and that the poll would now be conducted on March 9 instead of the earlier date of March 2.

Yakubu explained that the postponement was necessitated by some logistic and operational challenges, and that the shift would enable INEC address the issues to deliver quality elections that the nation deserves.

Reacting, Olofin said INEC’s explanation for the postponement of the elections was valid and urged Nigerians to show understanding and support the commission to succeed.

He said the expectation of all well-meaning Nigerians was for the commission to deliver credible elections and that citizens should stand with INEC to deliver that.

The IPAC chairman said election postponement was not new in the country as the 2015 election was also rescheduled.

Olofin called for calm on the development, saying it is wrong for anybody to read negative meanings or heat up the political space over the decision.

“We should all be calm and show understanding with INEC on the postponement of the polls. INEC has said the rescheduling is to enable it give Nigeria credible elections and we think waiting patiently for another seven days should not be a problem.

“We should remember that the 2015 elections were initially rescheduled owing to the same operational challenges being cited now, and at the end of the day, we got one of the best elections in our history.

“Nigerians, particularly, stakeholders should not heat up the political space over the postponement. We should be patient and give INEC benefit of the doubts to keep its promise,” he said.

He said the loss of electoral materials to inferno in some states and the late court verdicts on the Zamfara All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries should make even sceptics stand with INEC on the postponement.

Olofin said a free, fair and credible election was a misnomer when some Nigerians were disefranchised for whatever reason.

The IPAC chairman however urged INEC to live up to its promise to deliver credible elections, saying all Nigerians and the world are keenly watching and will not accept anything short of the promise to deliver a free, fair, credible and acceptable poll.

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