Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Following the announcement of postponement of the general elections by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, on Saturday morning, party leaders, government officials, traders and the public in Taraba State are expressing anger, frustration and disappointment with the Federal government and the electoral body.
The spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress APC in Taraba state, Mr Aaron Artimas, who spoke to our correspondent said that the postponement was “very disappointing and a huge loss to the party because all was set for the party to cruise home to victory in the presidential and the National Assembly elections and subsequently prepare the ground for an equally resounding victory for the governorship and state Assembly candidates of the party in the state.”
Artimas said that it was good for the state since it became clear on Friday evening that the election might not take place in the state due to late arrival of election materials.
He, however, insisted that despite the temporary setback and the added financial burden that the postponement had caused, it also afforded the party the opportunity to make even more preparation for a resounding victory as more and more persons were teaming up to identify with the party and its candidate as it had become clear that the party would form the next government both at the state and at the federal levels.
On his part, the Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku, said he received the news of the postponement with mixed feelings.
Speaking to our correspondent, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the governor, Mr Bala Dan Abu, said that the news “came as a surprise because it was inconceivable especially as the governor and the People’s Democratic Party PDP had fully mobilised its members for the election and was waiting patiently for it to come quickly and be done with.
“On the other hand, we are disappointed with INEC and the Federal government for treating the state as if we are not a critical part of the election. The electoral materials arrived here very late and even if they were deployed immediately on arrival, it wouldn’t have been possible for them to get to some of the areas in the state because we have difficult terrains that take far more than 24 hours to get to.”
Traders recount loses
Some traders who spoke to our correspondent said that the postponement would cost them a lot of money.
According Mrs Adenike Enoch who operates a restaurant in Jalingo, shutting her shop for two consecutive Saturdays is a huge financial loss which she cannot afford at the moment.
“I did not open my shop today because of the election. And by the nature of my business, there is no way I can start going to the market to get things now to prepare food for today. It is already too late. Now they would expect me to still close my shop next Saturday again. Why did they not tell us since yesterday morning that there would be no election today so that we can go about our activities?”
Cancellation of social engagements
Mr Yakubu Musa has his wedding scheduled for next Saturday and now would have to reschedule as a result of the rescheduled election.
“We took into cognisance the election timetable before setting the date for our wedding which is next Saturday. Now they have decided to move the date of the election at the last minute to coincide with the date for our wedding. What are we going to do now? How can we possibly reschedule the wedding under such a short notice? Mind that all arrangements have been put in place already and people are making their travel plans. It is high insensitive of them. They cannot expect us to put our lives on hold just because they have an election.”
INEC appeals for understanding from Public
The spokesperson of the INEC in the state, Mr Fabian Vwamhi, has appealed to the people of the state to remain calm and understand with the commission as the decision was in the overall best interest of the people.
“It is understandable that people feel bad about this postponement, but they should understand that it is in our best interest. For instance, we took custody of sensitive materials here very late yesterday and as you can see, we are still sorting through them. So, even if the election was not rescheduled, it may not have been possible to go ahead with it in the state. But at least we have enough time now to do the needful and deploy materials in time to get to all the areas where voting is to take place so that everything will work out well.”