The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu to resign from his position immediately over the shocking and disappointing postponement of today’s Presidential and National Assembly election.
OPAN as well as many Nigerians are bewildered that INEC under Mr. Yakubu could announce the shift of the elections just hours to the polls despite giving multiple assurances that the elections will hold as scheduled.
In a statement signed by its president, Austyn Ogannah, OPAN accused the INEC boss of sinister motive and asked all stakeholders to join in the call for his resignation or removal from office for gross incompetence.
The statement said: “This postponement is an embarrassment to Nigeria and all those who believe in this country. The pain and shame is just unbearable. Several people travelled to various destinations this weekend to perform their civic duties – many events were adjusted to ensure they did not clash with today’s election only to wake up and be greeted with this heartbreaking announcement. The financial damage is unimaginable. Enough is enough. Nigeria cannot continue to reward incompetence.
“President Buhari cannot give an election speech last night and you postpone a nationwide election on Election Day.
“The INEC had three and half years to prepare for this election and it has failed under Mr. Yakubu. With this development, OPAN and Nigerians have clearly lost confidence in the ability of this chairman to conduct free and fair elections.
“This election postponement raises pertinent questions: why was the election cancelled after sensitive election materials have been deployed?
What happens to the materials, will the materials be recalled?
How secure are those materials?
How come INEC was not aware of the “logistics problems” until a few hours to commencement of voting?
Is INEC’s postponement of the election within the said time frame constitutional in view of section 26(1) of the Electoral Act as amended? (The section provides for security concerns and natural disasters, where cogent and verifiable as only reasons for postponing election.)
“Should Nigerians insist on the use of new ballot papers as the sanctity of the ballot papers are no longer assured?
“We hereby call on the INEC Chairman to resign or be removed from office if he fails to do so”.
February 16, 2019.