Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has demanded for more openness from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in executing the activities mapped out for the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections this weekend.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja at the weekend, Minister of Power, Works and Housing and APC Presidential Campaign Council Director of Planning and Election Monitoring, Babatunde Fashola SAN alleged that from its recent findings there were indications that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had a pre-knowledge of the postponement announced by INEC last weekend.
“There are reports from the social media from our team because we are also monitoring everything. We have credible reports that the opposition party was already calling for postponement through their spokesperson and affiliates in the media,” he said.
Fashola, who expressed concern over the issue of logistics challenge being responsible for the election postponement, said that APC feels that INEC had enough time to put things right before last Saturday’s botched poll.
“Again, it speaks to logistics and this is an issue that I have spoken about publicly in 2011, 2015 when we were an opposition party. It just speaks that we need to raise our game. INEC is an institution, managed by people. All of us just need to work harder. We have worked very hard to prepare for this election.
All these are done through the same road that INEC is having logistics challenges. So, why is this thing happening once in four years. We hope that INEC will be ready. That is why we are saying now, come out in the open. Where did you have problems before, what did you do about it and what are you trying to do to correct it this time..
Among the demands being made by APC according to Fashola are greater openness ahead of the the rescheduled election and to know what steps INEC has been taken with CBN.
Fashola who was flanked by the Director Contact & Mobilization, Hadiza Bala Usman, said the party wants the commission to confirm to Nigerians the status of your plans, are materials 8n the country or not and what plans to distribute materials ahead 9f the election
“What problems encountered and steps to address them. What logistics challenged and steps to address them. Will configuration of card readers be ready before the 23. What transport logistics and further materials INEC require in terms of vehicles, boats, trucks, airplanes, helicopters, manpower and funding INEC requires to execute the elections of February 23 and March 9th. Confirmation that the configuration of the card readers will be completed in readiness of Saturday February 23 2019.
“In addition to all of these, we believe that INEC should brief Nigerians daily on an ongoing basis until this process is concluded,” he added.
Fashola also said that APC regretted the inability of many voters to get their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) .
“It is unfortunate that not everybody that registered that were able to collect their PVC. I would have loved to see that everybody are able to collect their voters card. As you know, there was a last date for collection and INEC will be in a better position to explain to us why all the cards were not distributed.
“From our situation room, we were ready and was in touch with all our staff nationwide. We know what it takes to do this. But INEC will be in a better position to decide,” he said.
Regarding the poor welfare provided for the Youth Corp members serving as adhoc staff, Fashola urged the commission to take further measures to take care of the Corp members.
Fashola who said that the party has been engaged in extensive consultations within the leadership, also apologised to Nigerians over the inconveniences the postponement of the election may have caused them.