Ben Agande, Kaduna
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said that though it appreciates the concern raised by the Independent Natiknal Electoral Commission regarding its logistic preparation and its constitutional power to reschedule the elections, the announcement for the rescheduling should have been done earlier.
Reacting to the postponement of the election, the ACF in a statement urged the commission to ensure that it plugs all loopholes before the rescheduled election.
The statement signed by Mohammed Ibrahim Biu, ACF publicity secretary reads:
“ACF learned with regret the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s decision to re-schedule the elections slated for 16th February and 2nd March 2019, citing logistic challenges as the main reasons for the postponement. ACF appreciates the concern raised by INEC regarding its logistic preparation and its constitutional power to reschedule the elections for the express purpose of ensuring credible, free and fair elections that would meet universal acceptance.
” though ACF is not privy to the nature of the challenges and the time INEC noticed them, the forum thinks the shift should have been done earlier in order to reduce cost and inconveniences for all the parties concerned.
” The earlier assurances given to Nigerians by INEC that it would deliver on credible, free and fair elections on schedule, heightened the enthusiasm of Nigerians to look forward to the scheduled 2019 general elections. The political parties and NGOs embarked on vigorous campaigns and sensitization programs on the need to a free and fair elections. Foreign and domestic election observers mobilized themselves to participate in today’s elections process.
“Unfortunately, five hours to the scheduled elections the same INEC has reversed itself and citing logistic challenges.
“ACF and indeed all Nigerians have no option but to accept the reasons advanced by INEC and to have faith that it will live up to its promise to hold the re-scheduled elections on the 23rd February and 9th March 2019.
“ACF therefore urges Nigerians to be patient and continue to persevere during this trying moment. We also call on Nigerians to continue to be prayerful, remain calm and restrain themselves from any act of lawlessness that will jeopardize the democratic process of free and fair election. It is only our collective resolve to respect the tenets of democracy that will strengthen our unity and peaceful coexistence.
“The Forum further calls upon INEC to use this opportunity and ensure that adequate logistic preparations are put in place for a successful re-scheduled elections for 23rd February and 9th March 2019. The Police and other security agencies should also prepare adequately to provide the needed security cover to INEC officials, the electorates, election observers and also to maintain peace and order during and after the elections”.