INEC Denies Plans to Postpone 2019 Elections as PDP Cautions

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said there are no plans to postpone the 2019 general elections as insinuated in some quarters.
There has been insinuation that the commission may shift the 2019 polls because of security situation and tension in the polity.
The commission said a newspaper headline, ‘We May Shift 2019 Polls Over Threat Of Violence – INEC’, did not reflect correctly the statement of INEC boss, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Security (ICCES) meeting, Tuesday.
In a statement signed by Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, the commission claimed that at no point during his remarks did the INEC Chairman allude to the notion that the commission “may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence” as reported by the national newspaper.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to a story with the headline – We May Shift 2019 Polls Over Threat Of Violence – INEC – which appeared on the front page of a national newspapers today, but which did not correctly reflect what the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting that took place at the commission’s headquarters on 11th September 2018.
“It is common knowledge that the Osun State governorship election will hold on Saturday 22nd September, while the 2019 General Elections are only 156 days away. The ICCES meeting, which takes place on a regular, quarterly basis, provides an opportunity for INEC and security agencies to evaluate and discuss the country’s security situation, with the aim of putting the necessary measures in place to enable the Commission carry out its mandate.
“In his remarks at the meeting, the INEC Chairman told the security chiefs that with the 2019 general elections drawing close, the Committee would need to meet more frequently to constantly assess the security situation across the country and take proactive actions to forestall any unpleasant event before, during and immediately after the elections.
“He underscored the fact that elections cannot be conducted under a rancorous atmosphere. He referred to Section 26 of the Electoral Act which, among others, gives the Commission the power to postpone an election “if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on (the fixed date)”, or as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies.
“Prof. Yakubu made this reference to the Electoral Act only to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections and to emphasize the significance of the synergy between the Commission and security agencies.
“He also noted that the most important assignment before the Commission was the Osun governorship election, adding the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Osun State, Mr. Segun Agbaje and Commissioner of Police for Osun state, Mr. Fimihan Adeoye would brief the Committee on the current situation and state of readiness for the governorship poll. (Both Agbaje and Adeoye later briefed the audience).
“Besides, he spoke on the rising phenomenon of vote buying and selling and harped on the need for collaborative effort to decisively tackle the menace and prevent it during the Osun governorship election. He said a Code of Conduct for security agents would be enforced during the elections and warned that any activity outside the confines of legality/ legitimacy will be viewed seriously.
“The INEC Chairman also seized the opportunity to draw the Committee’s attention to a video clip making the rounds, in which some political actors were seen making inciteful statements that could lead to serious security breaches before, during and after the 2019 general elections. He called on the relevant security agencies to be vigilant, just as he urged them to take immediate action on the development.
“He commended members of the Committee for their cooperation, which makes it possible for INEC to conduct credible elections.
“It is thus clear that at no point during his remarks did the INEC Chairman allude to the notion that the Commission “may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence” as reported by the national newspaper.
“To be sure, INEC has no plan to postpone the 2019 General Elections,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned INEC against alleged plots to shift the dates of the 2019 elections.
The opposition party also advised the Chairman of the Commission, not to allow the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari Presidency to use him to execute their plots to frustrate the conduct of credible elections in 2019, adding that the plot was meant to push for illegal tenure elongation for President Buhari and the APC.
The PDP told the President and his party to perish the thoughts of staying in power a day beyond May 29, 2019.
A statement Wednesday by the spokesman of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan said, the opposition party was already aware of suggestions by the INEC Chairman to have the elections postponed.
The PDP further stated that the alleged plot was a product of series of clandestine meetings between the INEC and the APC on ways to frustrate the 2019 elections. It added that the APC and the INEC have realised that there is no hope for President Buhari in the 2019 polls.
The statement said: “Nigerians and the international community have also noted the various ploys by INEC to frustrate a credible elections, including its stiff opposition to the amendment of the Electoral Act by the National Assembly to check APC rigging plans in addition to its exposed collaborations with INEC to manipulate the voters register, enroll underage voters and secretly creating 30,000 illegal polling centers in certain remote areas from where it plans to allocate fictitious votes to the APC.
“Nigerians may recall that the PDP had earlier alerted of the plot by the Buhari Presidency to enmesh the 2019 elections into a needless controversy by deliberately delaying the presentation of the election budget to the National Assembly until the time the parliament was proceeding on annual recess.
“Ostensibly to ensure that the election does not escape controversy, President Buhari demanded that the fund be taken from already approved budget for lawmakers’ constituency votes, despite entreaties by well-meaning Nigerians for a fresh budget for the elections.
“Seeing that Nigerians are standing shoulder to shoulder with the PDP to resist and dismantle their rigging machinery, the APC and Buhari Presidency are now trying to use INEC to frustrate the elections and cause crisis in our country.
“The PDP therefore rejects this plot by APC and INEC. The 2019 election must hold as scheduled. Nigerians are ready for elections and cannot wait to vote out President Buhari and his dysfunctional APC.
“In that wise, our party cautions the INEC Chairman to open up, expose the Buhari Presidency and immediately commence the application of its constitutional First Line Charge funding instruments instead entangling itself with the plot to destroy our nation”.

Author: News Editor

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