The All Progressives Congress (APC) Directorate of Election Planning and Monitoring has demanded more transparency from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The party urged the commission to be open in its dealings ahead of the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Babatunde Fashola, Director of the Directorate and Minister of Power, Works and Housing made the demand at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja, in reaction to the postponement of the elections by INEC.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had a few hours to commencement of the presidential and National Assembly elections, announced the rescheduling by one week of the elections earlier scheduled for Feb.16.
By the postponement, the Presidential and National Assembly elections now come up on Feb. 23, while the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections come up on March 9.
Yakubu had said the decision to postpone the elections was taken after a meeting with INEC Commissioners, citing “logistics’’ problems as issues that prompted the postponement.
He said the decision was further necessitated after reviewing the level of the commission’s preparedness for the exercise.
He stressed that postponing the elections was a difficult decision, but was necessary for successful delivery of the elections and to consolidate on Nigeria’s democracy.
However, Fashola said there was need for the commission to keep Nigerians updated on preparations for the rescheduled elections. He also demanded more transparency.
“As a result of the common pain shared by us all, we demand greater openness and transparency in the Commission’s preparations ahead of Saturday 23rd February 2019 elections.
“We believe that members of the public should know what steps INEC have taken with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to assess, take inventory of materials and what their conditions are,” he said.
He added that the commission should also let Nigerians know if all materials required for the elections were in the country and if not what plans it had to ensure that they were on ground.
He further added that the commission’s plans to redeploy and distribute materials ahead of elections should also be made known to Nigerians.
Fashola said INEC should also let Nigerians know what it encountered in the failed election attempt of the Feb. 16 and measures taken to overcome them.
He added that the commission should also confirm to Nigerians that the configuration of its card readers would be completed in readiness for the rescheduled elections.
He said it was also necessary for the commission to let Nigerians know what transport logistics and further materials it required in terms of vehicles, boats, trucks, airplanes, helicopters, manpower and funding to execute the elections.
“In addition to all of these, we believe that INEC should brief Nigerians daily on an ongoing basis until this process is concluded.
“This is one way to elicit the buy-in of Nigerians that INEC is serious and this will replace disappointment with enthusiasm.
“INEC has the duty to now make its processes open, believable and inspiring. This is the road to free and fair elections which is a victory for Nigeria and not for any party,”he said.
The minister said that elections and political parties were primarily about people.
He noted that before the elections were postponed, millions of Nigerians had sacrificed their time, resources and convenience to perform their national civic duty only to be disappointed by the postponement.
He added that as a political party, the disappointment of the APC was doubled.
This, he said was especially so because unlike some who were privy to the postponement, the APC got to know of it alongside the public a few hours before the polls opened.
“To the stranded youth corpers, voters and volunteers who have travelled at great cost to cast their votes, we empathise with you,”he said.
He also empathised with the party’s agents and its members across the federation, saying that they should not be discouraged.
He stressed that because Nigerians were a determined and resilient people, they should not let the shortcomings of INEC as an institution deter them from exercising their franchise.
Fashola therefore, charged Nigerians to stay calm and be determined and to come out en masse on Feb. 23 to vote for the APC, presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari and all the party’s senatorial and House of Representative candidates.
He urged Nigerians to convert their disappointment following the postponement of the elections to determination and to ensure that their previous sacrifices do not go to waste.