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Ex-Minister challenges INEC to demonstrate capacity in re-scheduled polls

…As Ozekhome warns of a looming danger

By Dirisu Yakubu

ABUJA- More Nigerians have continued to bare their minds on last week postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the latest being a former Minister of Education, Professor Tunde Adeniran and foremost constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN.

Yakubu

Adeniran who was a one-time Nigerian Ambassador to Germany while describing the postponement as unfortunate, wants the umpire to show capacity in the rescheduled polls, arguing that anything short of that would bring INEC’s credibility to question.

In an exclusive chat with our correspondent yesterday, the acting national chairman of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, wondered why elections often fetch Nigerians so much pain in virtually every election year.

INEC totally to blame for election postponement – Group

While calling on government to accord INEC the necessary support to enable it deliver on transparent elections, the Professor of Political Science stressed that lesser endowed countries have risen above the vices that still hold Nigeria in captivity, despite having had a near two decades of uninterrupted democracy.

He said: “The only way to attenuate the consequences of the time, energy, resources and emotions that Nigerians have had to invest needlessly in the aborted exercise is timely demonstration of capacity, readiness, transparency and diligence by INEC in the conduct of the rescheduled elections. Nigerians are waiting with great anxiety while a wishful world is watching.

“The postponement of the elections was most unfortunate and painful. The announcement was shocking because Nigerians never expected it in view of the assurances given by the INEC and the general cooperation of stakeholders.

Disenfranchised Christians

“Elections are supposed to be peaceful and exciting celebrations of people’s freedom of political choice. It is a right that must never again be denied Nigerians.

Countries that are far less endowed than Nigeria do not subject their citizens to the strain and stress that Nigerians are subjected to for the sake of elections.”

Also speaking, Ozekhome wants INEC to put prioritize national interest in the discharge of its duties even as he counselled President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of those who make him believe no one is capable of unseating him.

He told our correspondent that “there is the theory that INEC decided to help President Buhari from a disgraceful exit to Daura because he has continually boasted he cannot be defeated. Buhari appears fixated with the mindset of impregnability, which is what his cult follower-ship has made him to believe.”

More worrisome for the human rights activist however is whether President Buhari would concede defeat in the event that Nigerians choose to vote massively against him.

“The clear and present danger is whether Buhari will be sportsmanly enough to concede defeat when that comes,” he added.


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