The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has faulted the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the scheduled 2019 general elections. He categorically demanded for an apology from the umpire for the inconvenience caused stakeholders.
Oshiomhole spoke on Saturday at a stakeholders meeting convened by INEC in Abuja to explain to the critical stakeholders the reasons for the postponement of the general elections.
The meeting was presided over by the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and attended by chairmen and representatives of political parties.
The APC Chairman said, “On behalf of my party, we have confidence in INEC but what you have not explained, with due respect, is why did you have to wait till 2am this morning to realise that you have logistics challenge. Because over the week, some people raised doubts about whether or not INEC was in the position to proceed with the elections.
“And you keep reassuring the country that you are ready. Because like one of the previous speakers said, we have incurred a lot of cost to mobilise party agents to 176,000 polling units across the country. This entails huge cost, it entails huge risk and huge logistics. So, as much as INEC has huge logistics to cope with, every serious presidential candidate has as much huge logistics to cope with.
“But unlike INEC that can fall on public treasury, political parties have to look for resources to mobilise their agents to various polling points. So, you begged the question with due respect when you said ‘if inconveniences have been caused’. Serious inconveniences have been caused. Nigerians have been subjected to rude shock and I don’t know what anybody feels but I feel extremely cold.
“So, if people are saying congratulation or commendation, what would we do if the thing was successful? I think we should be honest. I’m shocked, I’m disappointed, I’m disgusted.
“The real question I will insist, Mr. Chairman with all due respect, is to tell us why by Wednesday you were in the position, since you acknowledged the weather was bad. You should have taken all these into account and announce this postponement at least 48 hours before the due time so that political parties don’t have to mobilise resources across 176,000 polling units. Observers will stay where they are and a lot of inconveniences would have been saved.
“Yes, we have postponed elections before and we should not distort history. The elections that were postponed in 2015 was at the instance of the then president, who cited security reasons. It was not by INEC. The one that was postponed in 2011 was as a result of inconclusive materials. But we don’t have to be detained by the imperfections of the past. We ought to have benefitted from those lessons and in all of these, the key issue is not whether election was postponed by why at 2am on the day of the election?
“You have more explanations to do because for me, I don’t associate myself with those who said commendation. No! Let’s be honest. In 2015 we improved on 2011. If we had the benefit of one week notice that the thing is postponed, we will save a lot in term of time, in term of inconveniences and even shock.
“For those who are here to observe, I don’t know what they think but for we the real players, it’s a huge shock. I’m happy with the rather moderate tone of the PDP but me…. I came from the village this morning I didn’t sleep all night to mobilise. So, I ask you Sir, why didn’t you inform us at least 48 hours before when you noticed that you have issues with weather, you have issues with logistics? You didn’t know all of these until 2am this morning? For me, that is the issue.
“I want to associate myself with the young lady who said, of course you can’t but accept responsibility. It doesn’t offer me any comfort. I think you must go further to apologize to the Nigerian nation because you have embarrassed us as a country and as a people.
“I know how we had to work hard to keep your administrative guidelines with regards to nomination of candidates, conducting our primaries and you have been extremely hard. So, why should we accept your explanations now? So, on behalf of All Progressives Congress, we demand apology from INEC. We insist that it is wrong to have announced this at 2am. You had the benefit to have announced it much earlier so that you can save us the cost that we have incurred,” Oshiomhole declared.