Paul Osuyi, Asaba
A civil society group, NEHEMS, on Monday, said the postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was done in good faith to avoid unforseen circumstances that could have led to irredeemable crisis across the country during and after the polls.
The group said INEC should not be crucified for shifting the polls, insisting that the action of the electoral umpire became necessary because of desperate measures by political players to undermine the process of achieving credible elections.
President of the group, Victor Sorokwu said in Asaba, Delta State that although INEC deserved some knocks for the extent of official lapses observed in the electoral logistic processes, the commission should be shown considerable empathy by critics.
“The Commission, therefore, should not be responsible for the collateral liability; given the unabated machinations and Machiavellian antics of the warring political parties and their nocturnal backers, aimed at scuttling the electoral process for fear of imminent defeat.
“Unscrupulous plots abound, where underworld elements orchestrated arson on INEC offices in some states, ambushed, hijacked and thumb printed sensitive electoral materials – all in desperate efforts to derail the electoral process, undo opponents and to rig elections.
“These atrocities that clearly undermine the efforts of INEC, are further aggravated by violent thuggery, armed invasions and assassinations,” Sorokwu stated.
However, the Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF) disagreed with NEHEMS, saying that INEC should be blamed for the postponement of the general elections.
Chairman of DOPF, Emmanuel Enebeli said there were signs that INEC was not prepared for the polls days before the postponement, maintaining that there was lack of voter education, creating confusion among the electorate and political players.
“INEC also failed in the registration of observers, more so media accreditation was shrouded in secrecy, as some states were given priority attention than others.
“The late accreditation of journalists to cover the elections, and the ultimate deprivation of main stream media practitioners from carrying out their legitimate duty to inform the world as events unfolds during the election were all signs that INEC was heading for failure,” Enebeli stated.
Meanwhile, governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, Great Ovedje Ogboru has appealed to his supporters who were shocked by the news of the postponement to be calm, saying that the prerogative to change the dates of elections solely lies with INEC.
“We are not going to change the minds of the people because we have won the election for Buhari already. So it is going to give us better time to effect our plans make sure that logistics are taking care of since the voters have made up their minds on who to vote for.
“I just want you to know that INEC postponing the election is an occupational hazard and it can happen any time. So when you are planning for election you also prepare that it may be postponed. But on a lighter note, it should not have happened,” Ogboru told journalists in Abraka.
He urged INEC to use the period of the postponement to prepare adequately to ensure that free, fair and credible election is delivered.
“It is better late than never, so I am not surprised about the election postponement, neither will I say I am disappointed because if INEC in it’s wisdom says they want to postpone the election to conduct a more credible election, then I think it’s best thing to do.
“INEC has its reasons for doing that. In the past we have heard when elections have been postponed for two or three weeks, and at the end held, so this is not the first election being shifted, one week from now it will be done, so we are waiting,” Ogboru said.