INEC’s threat to postpone 2023 polls is irresponsible — Reps

Some members of the House of Representatives have called the statement attributed to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that it may be forced to postpone or cancel the 2023 general elections irresponsible.

Members such as Hon. Sergius Ogun, who represents the Esan North East/Esan South East Federal constituency in Edo State, and Hon. Kingsley Chinda, who represents the Obior/Akpor federal constituency in Rivers State, responded separately to the apparent threat in a chat with Vanguard Politics on Tuesday.

Recall that the Chairman of the Board of The Electoral Institute TEI, INEC’s training arm, Professor Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, made the observation on Monday in Abuja at the validation of election security training resources.

He said: “We all appreciate the fact that election security is vital to democratic consolidation through the provision of an enabling environment for the conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections and thus strengthening the electoral process.

“Consequently, in preparations for the 2023 general elections, the Commission is not leaving anything to chance in ensuring that intensive and extensive security is provided for election personnel, materials and processes.

“This is particularly significant to the Commission given the current insecurity challenges in various parts of the country and the fact that the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members constitute the core of the polling unit election officials.

“Moreover, if the insecurity is not monitored and dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder the declaration of elections results and precipitate a constitutional crisis.

“This must not be allowed to happen and shall not be allowed to happen. Therefore, security personnel in particular and all elected officials, in general, must be security-conscious and alert to unusual activities in their environment and must be fully equipped to deal with any challenge at all times.”

In his reaction, Ogun accused INEC of deliberately diverting attention from its inability to properly conduct the collection of the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) with the statement, counseling the electoral umpire to table its security concerns to the federal government.

He said: “They should come out and tell us what they know that the rest of us don’t know. It’s very irresponsible of INEC to be making statements like this at a time they should be working towards delivering credible polls in February and March. INEC might be trying to deflect attention from their inability to properly handle the collection of PVCs as there are complaints by Nigerians who registered and are not able to collect their PVCs as the expiration date for collection is just a couple of weeks away, if they have any serious security concerns, they should take it to the government.

“Let the government tell Nigerians that they have failed to provide security for all hence the election might not hold, it’s not the responsibility of INEC to provide security for its staff, election materials and citizens (voters) but the government. Section 14. 2(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”

Similarly, the member representing Obior/Akpor federal constituency, Chinda said INEC couldn’t have made such a statement having had ample time to prepare for the elections.

“I doubt the statement is from INEC. If it is, I would say that it amounts to rascality and irresponsibility for INEC to say so, having had time to prepare for the election,” he said.

 

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