Further clarifications on the shift of the general elections were provided yesterday, by the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Prof. Ade Adefuye.
The clarification became necessary against the backdrop of inundated telephone calls and mails from individual and organisations across United States seeking information on the postponement.
In a press statement released to the American media in Washington, DC, Prof. Adefuye explained that the postponement was necessitated by the ‘need to get the logistics right’, the ‘desire to get all qualified Nigerians to exercise their franchise’, and the ‘need to ensure adequate security during the conduct of the elections’. He explained that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) is the body which decides election dates, ‘based on its belief that the logistics and security necessary to ensure the conduct of a credible elections are in place’.
He stated that INEC had been facing some challenges, as the electoral body itself had admitted, adding that with a week to the elections, only about 60% of the total number of registered voters had received their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs.
He added that it was difficulty getting over 600,000 ad hoc polling staff ready for the elections. “The decision by INEC to move the election forward will therefore allow it to perfect its systems, including the distribution of over 26 million PVCs to voters.”
On security, the Ambassador noted: “Nigeria is now leading a multi-national task force that is waging a serious war against insurgency in the North-Eastern part of the country. Because of this, the Defence Forces will find it difficult to provide security necessary for a peaceful conduct of the election in the affected states in the North-Eastern part of the country. The full attention of the Armed Forces is currently directed towards ending the insurgency. It is the combination of the security concerns which are serious and genuine as well as the need to perfect the election arrangements that compelled INEC to postpone the election.“