BY DANIEL IDONOR
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, Saturday, in a swift reaction to the postponement of the National Assembly elections across the country by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, expressed regrets but appealed to Nigerians for understanding saying the postponement is the best option.
Prof. Attahiru Jega, INEC Chairman, had in few hours into the elections sent shock waves into the spines of Nigerians when he announced the sudden postponement of the elections till Monday.
Fielding questions from newsmen in his home state, Bayelsa, Saturday, the President stated that the government expressed regrets over the postponement.
“Of course we heard the INEC Chairman’s broadcast that the election has been postponed till Monday.
On behalf of all of us in the executive and the legislature, we really express our regrets and we commend Nigerians for their patriotism. We assure them that we will do all within our powers to ensure that we conduct credible elections”, he said.
Jonathan lamented that the government is not unaware of the pains by “people who travelled far distances to go and vote but unfortunately, could not vote now”, adding that “they may stay at home till Monday and return Tuesday or probably some of them might go back as I am rushing back to Abuja now”.
He said while government is encouraged by the support of Nigerians towards a credible election, the postponement ” is one of the sacrifices they are making for the country and we plead with them to endure; the most important thing is to ensure that elections are done in a way that it will be accepted”.
According to him, “when I listened to the INEC Chairman, he said that all the materials have already arrived in the country. If they want to continue, probably in some places by 12midnight, when materials arrive and conduct elections till early Sunday, there could be a lot of stories”.
“If you must do something it is better we delay it for 24 hours or 48 hours and conduct our elections in a way that Nigerians and the international community would be happy. Luckily it is a parliamentary election, it is not election for executive positions where people are more agitated so they should bear with INEC, and we would all bear with INEC.
Let me thank you and let me thank all Nigerians for the enthusiasm shown for the election”.
“I have been in government for 12 years now and I witnessed what happened in 19998/99 , I witnessed what happened 2003 and 2007. Even from the point of registration Nigerians have shown a very high sense of interest and commitment in ensuring that we do it right.”