By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – Some residents of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have urged other Nigerians across the country and beyond to view the postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a necessary sacrifice that must be made in the interest of the nation.
INEC on Saturday shifted the presidential and national assembly elections from Feb. 16 to Feb. 23, and postponed the governorship and state assembly elections from March 2 to March 9.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the shift in date of the elections by one week was due to logistics and to enable the commission to conduct the desired free, fair and credible elections for Nigerians.
Speaking with Vanguard on Saturday, Joshua Akata, the traditional ruler of Ketti Abuja, said though the postponement was inconveniencing to the natives and residents of his Chiefdom, the people have accepted the news in good faith.
“Nobody was happy when the news of the postponed elections filtered into the community, because so many had travelled down to cast their votes and many business operators were caught unawares by the sudden announcement.
“However, we have calmed our people down. We’ll continue to explain to those at the grassroots the reasons for the postponement, and encourage them not to give up, but to turn out en masse to cast their votes next Saturday,” he said.
Also speaking on the postponement, Rev. Taiwo Atanda, the Senior Pastor of Destiny Revival Evangelical Ministry, said there was no cause for alarm over the sudden shift in the election dates.
Atanda said though many clerics had the premonition that the presidential election would not hold on Feb. 16, Nigerians should accept it now as reality and continue in prayers for the nation.
He said: “If the logistic reasons cited by INEC for postponing the election is in the best interest of the nation; then, one week shift in date is not too great a sacrifice to make for this country. Let’s accept it as our reality and keep praying for the future of Nigeria.”
However, in a divergent reaction, co-convener of the Red Card Movement, Aisha Yesufu, said the postponement was added time for incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari to prepare a better handover note.
“The inevitable can be postponed, it can be delayed but it can never be changed. The one week postponement of election would give President Buhari additional time to write what he is going to say when he concedes (defeat),” Yesufu said.