Sahara Reporters Latest News Sunday 17th February 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Sunday 17th February 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 17/02/19

Read also Leadership Newspapers News Today Sunday 17th February 2019

target=_blank>The Election Postponement And Everything It Reflects About Nigeria By Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa

“No, no, no. We cannot continue! We cannot Proceed. Mr. Chairman, you have been compromised”- Elder Orubebe 

The introductory quote of this article was uttered at a similar election period. Unlike the present matter however, the election had ended and strange things such as a Professor not being able to read his own hand writing had just occurred. Within a fully lighted hall, a torch light had to be procured before the figures could be read by the same Professor who wrote it “by myself”. The concerns Elder Orubebe expressed at that collation center 4 years ago may not have meant anything then but they surely do now.
The  Nigerian senate approved the sum of 189billion naira for what has still turned postponed. As at now, it is still unclear if the conduct of the election later might even be more catastrophic than it has already been. It is clear still that despite such a huge sum of taxpayer money going into the election, the Electoral Commission INEC has shown early signs of incompetence.The INEC chairman Prof. Yakubu Mahmood now reels out as his reasons for postponing the election and they are not things he could not have envisaged. Everything Prof. Mahmood gives as a reason asides the excuse of weather and fire outbreak in INEC offices (which he even claimed to have solved by getting spare Smart Card Readers from other states to make up for those that burnt in Anambra), the other excuses the Chairman now gives are things he should have reasonably forseen acting in his capacity. It says a lot to the international community that a nation where an important event such as her national election is being postponed at the eve of the event when great personal sacrifice and effort had gone into it especially on the part of corpers undergoing their NYSC programme. It is impossible not to notice this same lackadaisical attitude in virtually all other institutions in this country. Without regard for people, sudden actions and decisions are taken and people are waved away without any sense of importance given to their effort or individual sacrifices.In Nigeria, following a waste of people’s time and effort through energy sapping ventures. Leadership tends to go ahead as if nothing happened and refuse to offer due explanation to the Nigerian people. It is too frequent that people do not get as much as an apology and the INEC chairman has still not issued any form of public statement acknowledging the amount that went into transport, lodging, feeding and other such that people incurred to ensure they can vote.The financial implications of this to the country are not even favorable as economic activities have been greatly affected in the time taken towards preparation for the election.Away from INEC, there is the issue of how Nigerians have learnt too much adaptation if there is any such thing as too much adaptation. One would expect massive rage following the postponement but rather there is an attempt on Twitter to be the one with the most comic tweet caption for such a bitter national episode that brings shame to the entire country in the international community. All sorts of jokes and satires are being thrown around in a bid to trend by social media icons. There is lacking now the tough frown that will ensure such does not repeat itself nationally. A walk this morning through a market in Osun state revealed how quickly Nigerians have adapted and moved on with the announcement.In no time, the “unshockable” nature of Nigerians has made it seem like a normal thing and the Saturday has continued a normal Saturday with no trace of what was supposed to be an Election Day where movement is restricted.The “unshockable” nature of Nigerians is manifested in how quickly life has gone back to normal. Markets are open. Okada men out. Public vehicles are moving in large numbers indicating there is a market for transportation and more people are going out and coming in. In fact, interstate vehicles have started calling passengers. You would think everyone was prepared already for the postponement.  But no they weren’t, Nigeria woke up to the announcement everywhere in this country and they have responded by moving on with their lives.All shops are open in the market where I did this survey and activity is ongoing like a normal Saturday. Even food vendors have cooked so fast this morning and are already hawking. In mere seconds, Nigeria has risen above the disappointment and we have moved on like we have learnt to do. Only few dots of people can be seen conversing about the issue. The numbers in the heated public discussion that started at the newspaper stand in the morning has reduced too and people are leaving the place to engage in more productive tasks.This episode reflects a lot that is recurrent in Nigeria. Lack of planning such that our Super Eagles, the national football team have even travelled before without their soccer boots for a tournament and had to send someone to bring the correct boots for the players to use moments to the start of the competition.Our people have died at poorly coordinated recruitment exercises especially the unforgettable Immigration matter under the Jonathan administration. Our examination questions have leaked before the examination held such that the Presidency had to intervene. Light has gone off during a major FIFA lower age tournament we were hosting beaming total darkness to the world that was watching. It is not specific to this issue and this is not the first time Nigeria will cause herself this type of embarrassment. There constant recurrence of impunity in Nigeria and the attendant disregard for what people think or feel and the sacrifices they have made. In fact, has an entire election not been cancelled in this country to the whim and caprices of just one Nigerian after millions have voted their choice?Moving forward, our people take it as it is. Nobody wants to bell the cat. The rage begins and ends on radio, Twitter, Facebook and articles such as this one that will proliferate the Internet. Nigerians are yet to really frown on this national problem of impunity.Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa is a student of Obafemi Awolowo University. He writes for several reputable print and online media. He is a member of several volunteer organizations and human rights bodies. He can be reached on koyetolu@gmail.com or on Twitter @Koye_tolu.

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target=_blank>Independent National Electoral Criminals (INEC) And 2019 By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Bayo Oluwasanmi

Bayo Oluwasanmi

For any democracy to succeed, free and fair elections must be guaranteed. To ensure free and fair elections, our Constitution established the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). An independent electoral commission must be insulated from political pressures and executive influence. The commission must be free from external pressures from the party in power or executive of the day – the president.
One of the most important features of democracy is elections at regular intervals. Elections reflect the attitudes, values, and beliefs of the people in a democracy. Elections is the only method by which we select and control leaders. Elections make it possible for people to choose and elect a government and confers constitutional right on the government to govern those who elect it. Elections prove the sovereignty of the people and provide legitimacy to the authority of the government.
It is the responsibility of the electoral commission to organize, supervise, and conduct free and fair elections into the various legislative bodies in the country. In addition, the electoral commission issues a model code of conduct for political parties and candidates to conduct elections. For 2019, INEC will spend N242 billion to conduct the general elections.
Few months to the 2015 presidential elections, the then President Goodluck Jonathan requested $1 billion to fight Boko Haram terrorists. Rather than use the money to fight Boko Haram, Jonathan PDP administration deployed the money into vote buying to rig the election. Not long ago, President Buhari asked for $1 billion to fight Boko Haram the same Boko Haram Buhari claimed has been “technically defeated.” Given the open market selling/buying of votes that accompanied Edo, Anambra, Ekiti, and most recently Osun elections, it is fair to conclude that APC and Buhari will use the Boko Haram budget for vote buying to ensure President Buhari is re-elected.
We all know the INEC is anything but independent. It is not independent of the executive arm of government. It does not maintain a non-partisan stand. In fact, INEC has proven to be an extension of Aso Rock. It is not transparent in its dealings. It is not impartial in the discharge of its functions. It is not accountable to the Nigerian people. Indeed, INEC is nothing but Independent National Electoral Criminals. We have seen instances where state governors had purchased INEC wholesale by bribing the officials who are in their states to supervise elections with accommodation, cars for transportation, and cash. In many instances, INEC had failed to arrest and prosecute vote sellers and vote buyers.
Sometimes ago, at a Channels TV interview, INEC director of publicity and voter education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi confessed that though it was the responsibility of the commission to prosecute those who infringed on electoral laws, including those involved in the act of inducement during elections, the commission does not have the power to arrest. “Inducing people is a criminal offence,” says Osaze-Uzzi, “but when it happens around an election hall, then it falls under the provision of the electoral laws and other criminal provisions. When it is under the electoral law, the commission has the duty and responsibility to prosecute,” says Osaze-Uzzi. 
The free for all open market vote selling and vote buying by both APC and PDP during the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun States have salient implications for 2019. It means INEC is not a credible, trustworthy, impartial umpire. It means rigging has been incorporated into the statute of INEC. If APC had won Osun election in the first round, INEC would not have called for re-run. It means APC cannot win state wide elections without rigging. 
The fact that APC with all the power of incumbency, limitless resources of cash and control of the military and police failed to win Osun State without manufacturing a re-run and without rigging the re-run, means Nigerians are dissatisfied and disenchanted with Buhari and APC. It means Buhari will loose gallantly in 2019. PDP will not fare better. The federal government is the king pin of election rigging, the law breaker as opposed to law enforcer.
How can we entrust our political destiny in 2019 in the hands of Independent National Electoral Criminals? Well, I have news for both APC and PDP for any attempted rigging in 2019 presidential elections: It is never the disasters you see coming that finally come to pass – it is the ones you don’t expect at all. That’s the fire next time… Let’s go there!
bjoluasanmi@gmail.com

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target=_blank>CDHR Demands Probe Into Factors That Led To Postponement Of Elections

The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has demanded an investigation into the factors that led to the postponement of the elections.
The group also expressed disappointment with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the postponement of the elections.
INEC had announced the postponement of the elections earlier on Saturday by one week.
A statement by Malachy Ugwummadu, the CDHR President, noted that the postponement has cast “serious shadow on the integrity of the commission” to conduct credible elections.
The statement read: “The CDHR notes with utter disappointment the postponement of the 2019 general elections on account of general poor logistics. This development, just hours before the elections, raises so many questions as to the capacity of INEC to conveniently discharge on their mandate. The Presidential and National Assembly elections were postponed to February 23, 2019 while the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections were postponed to March 9, 2019.
“This postponement has cast serious shadow on the credibility and integrity of the entire election process. As a contest, this unfortunate development has unwittingly created fertile grounds for competing political parties to discredit the process. International and local observers have mobilized at high costs and resources and are now demobilized. The entire economy and education sector in particular suffered the worst hit having been shut down for the period under review.
“By Section 15(a) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), INEC is vested with global powers and vires to organize, undertake and supervise all elections. Under Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2011 the same INEC drawing from the broad powers to organize and conduct elections can postpone an election earlier than scheduled but for the restricted reasons of insecurity, natural disaster or emergency. It is expected that concerns of logistics may not be profound enough to ground suspension of general elections over which huge budgetary allocations have been approved and received.
“Recall that both in 2011 and 2015 when there were such postponements the context are different from what we have just witnessed in the instant case where INEC consistently reassured the nation that the elections will hold with no possibility of postponement. On this score alone, INEC have not been truthful with the people since all the variables founding the bases of earlier assurances could not have changed in less than four hours to the election. The President, though a contestant, had in a national broadcast addressed the public on the scheduled election for today 16 February 2019. INEC itself has over a year ago released a comprehensive timetable of this election.
“In 2015 it was the executive through the National Security Advisor to then President Goodluck Jonathan and after due consultations with National Council of States and all stakeholders announced the postponement. What is more? We appreciate that at all times material to the postponement, the election materials including sensitive materials have been dispatched and a lot more already at their relevant locations. What happens to those materials? To what extent can the integrity of those materials already dispatched be guaranteed?
“In blaming INEC whose responsibility it is to generally organize the election, it should be recalled that it got caught in the interplay of power when the National Assembly foot-dragged on the consideration and approval of INEC budgetary allocation leaving them with serious time constraints in sourcing and procuring election materials. No doubt INEC trudged on as though all was well and even issued timetable and guidelines based on those assurances.”
The CDHR went on to make five demands: “An unequivocal apology to the Nigerian people and representatives of international communities that are here in the country; clear explanation from INEC as to the circumstance and exact reason why the election was postponed; a serious and thorough inquiry by an independent panel to ascertain what happened; appropriate sanction to relevant persons who failed in their responsibility and consequently took this decision in order to serve as a deterrent; consideration for decentralization and unbundling of INEC along the multifaceted responsibilities of that commission have now become imperative.”

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target=_blank>Call Intensifies For INEC Chairman Mahmud Yakubu To Resign

Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, the INEC chairman, displaying the ballot paper specimen to political parties.

Nigerians have called for the resignation of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), following the sudden postponement of the scheduled 2019 election, hours to the poll.
Nigerians took to social media to express displeasure and call for the resignation of the INEC boss.
Also, in an online poll conducted by Kadaria Ahmed, a renowned journalist and host of the 2019 Presidential Town Hall meeting, asking if Yakubu should resign, 49% of 14,173 who participated in the poll said he should resign.
The poll had only been live for 17 hours at the time of filing this report.
Ayo Obe, a popular activist and member of the Bring Back Our Girls Movement (BBOG), also sexpressed support of the resignation of the INEC chair.
She said: “Before signing off, let me just say I am one of those who thinks that the @inecnigeria chair should resign. INEC’s eleventh-hour decision has put thousands of Nigerians through avoidable hardship, and caused unnessariy stress.”
In another tweet that has been retweeted by 144 people, @cardinalkuzy1, asked that Yabuku resign or be sacked.
“N190 billion spent on election and our youth corps members were not even accommodated? INEC chair should resign or be sacked,” the tweet read.
TallJohn, a Twitter user, also said: “INEC postpones an election the exact day it is supposed to hold, and also provided zero welfare conditions for the corps members that were to be used as ad hoc staff. This is very embarrassing from an organization that used more than 3 years to plan. The INEC chair should just resign!”
Another user, Baban Junior, with the handle, @HonSadeeq, tweeted: “The INEC chairman should resign with immediate effect! This is purely evil. People have traveled across Nigeria to vote not to even talk of the foreign observers. I strongly condemn this incompetence and the disgrace this INEC have caused Nigeria. It is a shame.”
While taking questions from the audience during a press conference held in Abuja on Saturday, the INEC chair claimed arrangements were made for the youth corps members. He also apologized to Nigerians for inconveniences caused due to the postponement.

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target=_blank>FACT CHECK: Is Amina Zakari In Charge Of Logistics For INEC?

Amina Zakari

Amina Zakari

Sequel to the one-week postponement of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), there have been speculations that Amina Zakari, a national commissioner, is to blame for the logistics delay regarding the electoral process.
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, had said bad weather and delay in logistics was one of the reasons the polls had to be shifted by one week.
Before the elections, various stakeholders, especially the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had accused the commission of plans to rig the election by putting Zakari in charge of its national collation centre.
Zakari is related to President Muhammadu Buhari, albeit a distant relative. However, there had been calls for her sack from the commission, as there were claims that she could be biased as Buhari is seeking reelection on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
After INEC shifted the election, social media was awash with a screenshot depicting Zakari as INE’s head of logistics, with the insinuation that she probably sabotaged the election to hand an advantage to the All Progressives Congress (APC). However, this is not true.
In 1997, she was appointed as a National Commissioner of INEC.
However, she was eventually redeployed, and contrary to speculations that she should receive major blame for the postponement of the elections, her office actually has nothing to do with logistics.
In October 2018, INEC re-organised the chairmanship of five of its 15 Standing Committees. As a result, Amina Bala Zakari’s position as Chairman of INEC’s Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee was changed to Health and Welfare Committee.
A statement by Mallam Muhammed Haruna, a National Commissioner on the re-organisation, read: “Barrister Festus Okoye, Information and Voter Education Committee; Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi, Board of the Electoral Institute; Dr Mohammed Mustafa Lecky, Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee; Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, Health and Welfare Committee, and Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee.”
In January 2019, she was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Collation Centre. Therefore, Zakari is NOT the head of INEC’s losgistics as being peddled n social media.

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target=_blank>BREAKING: INEC Chairman Lists Reasons Why He Postponed Elections (Full Text)

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has taken full responsibility for the postponement of the elections.
He cited bad weather and other logistics issues, as well as cases of law suits filed against the commission. He, however, restated the commitment of the commission to ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
He said the commission was confronted with myriad of challenges and had to resort to postponing the elections.
READ THE FULL SPEECH
l. About thirteen hours ago, I conveyed to Nigerians the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reschedule the 2019 general elections by one week. Presidential and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled for 16th February 2019 will now hold on Saturday 23rd February 2019, while Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council elections scheduled for 2nd March 20l9 will now hold on Saturday 9th March 2019. The one-week adjustment was a painful one for INEC, but necessary in the overall interest of our democracy.
2. Nigerians will recall that when this Commission was appointed in November 2015, we promised Nigerians two cardinal things. First, we shall work hard to consolidate the improvements made in the management of elections. Secondly, we shall always be open, transparent and responsive. We have strived diligently to keep these promises in very trying circumstances.
3. In keeping with our promise to consolidate the gains of the last two electoral cycles, the Commission has conducted 195 rerun and off-season elections across the country since the last general elections. Most of these elections have been generally adjudged to show progressive improvements in planning, execution and outcomes.
4. This commitment to continue to improve on election administration has informed our preparations for the 20l9 general elections. Our goal is to plan carefully, execute meticulously and bring stability into election management in Nigeria. Consequently, we announced fixed dates for elections in Nigeria to the effect that Presidential and National Assembly elections will always hold on the third Saturday in February of an election year. While the Governorship and State Assembly elections follow two weeks later. Having settled this, we began the planning quite early, with a Strategic Plan (SP), 3 Strategic Programme of Action (SPA) and an Election Project Plan (EPP). In fact, the plan for the 2019 general elections was ready in November 2017 and we subsequently issued the timetable and schedule of activities for the elections over one year ago on 9th January 2018. We carefully followed the timetable and implemented 13 of the 14 activities as scheduled. We kept to the timeframe and have not missed the date fixed for any single activity.
5. In preparing for the 2019 general elections, we have come face-to-face with the realities of conducting such an extensive national deployment of men and materials in a developing country like ours. It is said that elections constitute the most extensive mobilization of men and materials that any country could undertake in peacetime. The challenges of doing so, even under the best of circumstances, are enormous. Within a period of 16 months, we registered over 14 million Nigerians as new voters, collecting their names, addresses, photographs and their entire ten fingerprints. Beyond that, we prepared, printed and delivered their Permanent Voter Cards for collection. I should note that of the 14.28 million Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) made available for collection, about 10.87 million or 76.12% have been collected.
6. It is often not appreciated the magnitude of activities that the Commission undertakes during general elections. Not only have we recruited and trained about 1 million young people to serve as ad hoc staff, the magnitude of materials mobilized for our elections is enormous. For instance, the Commission has printed 421.7 million ballot papers for six scheduled elections, as well as 13.6 million leaves of result forms for the Presidential election alone. Indeed, managing 91 political parties and 23,316 candidates for whom votes will be cast in 119,973 polling units by over 84 million voters is certainly astounding. No doubt, preparations for the 2019 general elections have been extremely tasking for the Commission.
7. It is therefore not unexpected that such a tremendous national mobilization of men and materials will encounter operational challenges and we have had our own fair share of such challenges. There has been delay in delivering ballot papers and result sheets for the elections which is not unusual. However, I must emphasize that all the ballot papers and result sheets were ready before the elections despite the very tight legal timeframe for finalizing nomination of candidates and dealing with the spate of legal challenges that accompany it. In this regard, the Commission has been sued or joined in over 640 court cases arising from the nomination of candidates. As at today, there are 40 different court orders against the Commission on whether to add or drop candidates. The net effect of these is that there is usually roughly a one-month window for the Commission to print ballot papers and result sheets and either fly or transport them to several destinations until they finally get to each polling unit. Unfortunately, in the last one week, flights within the country have been adversely affected by bad weather. For instance, three days ago, we were unable to deliver materials to some locations due to bad weather. We therefore had to rely on slow-moving long haulage vehicles to locations that can be serviced by air in spite of the fact that we created five zonal airport hubs: Abuja (North Central), Port Harcourt (South South and South East), Kano (North West), Maiduguri and Yola (North East) and Lagos (South West) to facilitate the delivery of electoral logistics.
8. Apart from these logistical challenges, we also faced what may well be attempts to sabotage our preparations. In a space of two weeks, we had to deal with serious fire incidents in three of our offices in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State, Qu’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State and our Anambra State Office at Awka. In all three cases, serious disruptions were occasioned by the fire, further diverting our attention from regular preparations to recovery from the impact of the incidents. In Isiala Ngwa South, hundreds of PVCs were burnt, necessitating the re-compiling of the affected cards and reprinting in time to ensure that the affected voters are not disenfranchised. I am glad that all the cards were quickly reprinted and made available for collection by their owners.
9. In Qu’an Pan Local Government Area, our entire office was razed, destroying all the materials prepared for the elections printed register of voters, ballot boxes, voting cubicles and several electricity generating sets. 11 Registration Areas and over 100 polling units were affected by the fire. We recovered quickly and have since replaced everything destroyed. In addition, we secured a suitable building from which to conduct the elections.
10. Perhaps the most serious was the fire incident in our Anambra State Office at Awka, which destroyed over 4,600 Smart Card Readers being prepared for the elections. These Card Readers take at least six months to procure. Despite this setback, we have practically recovered from this by mopping up every available spare SCR across the country and within 24 hours delivered them for elections to hold in Anambra State.
11. All these challenges mean that there have been differences in preparations from one state to another. Our overall assessment is that if the elections went on as planned, polls will not open at 8am in all polling units nationwide. Yet, we are determined that polls must hold at the same time everywhere in the country. In this way, elections will not be staggered. This is very important to public perception of elections as free, fair and credible. We promised Nigerians that we shall be open, transparent and responsive.
12. Faced with these challenges, we initially thought that we only require a maximum of 24 hours to resolve the logistics issues involved and complete our deployment for the election. This would mean shifting the elections to commence on Sunday 17th February 2019. However, given the restriction of movement during elections, that could affect many voters who worship on Sundays. While the Commission was considering the following Monday 18th February 2019 as an option, our ICT Department advised us that it would require 5-6 days to reconfigure about 180,000 Smart Card Readers earlier programmed to work only on election day Saturday 16th February 20l9. It is for this reason that the Commission decided to adjust the election dates to Saturday 23rd February 2019 for Presidential and National Assembly elections and a consequential adjustment of Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council elections to Saturday 9th March 2019.
 
13. Some sensitive materials have been distributed. However, all such materials have been retrieved and will be taken back to custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria. I want to assure you that there will be proper audit to account for all materials.
14. In the next few days, the Commission will work on the basis of the following plan:
S/No. Activity Timeframe
1. Completion/confirmation of deployment of materials (Monday l8th February 2019)
2. Configuration of the Smart Card Readers (Sunday 17th Thursday 21st February 2019)
3. Receipt and Deployment of sensitive materials to LGAs (Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21st February 2019)
4. Refresher training for ad hoc staff (Thursday 21st February 2019)
5. Deployment of personnel to RACs (Friday 22nd of February 2019)
6. Election Day (Saturday 23rd February 2019)
I want to appeal to Nigerians and all other stakeholders for their understanding in what has been a very difficult decision for the Commission. But we believe that ultimately this is for the good of our democracy and country. I wish to assure you of our commitment to free, fair and credible elections.
16. As Chairman of INEC, and on behalf of the Commission, we take full responsibility for what happened and we regret any inconvenience our decision might have caused.
17. Thank you and God bless.

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target=_blank>BREAKING: Bad Weather, Sabotage Responsible For Postponement Of Elections, Says INEC Chairman

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says bad weather, sabotage, and a host of other factors caused the commission to postpone the elections.
Earlier on Saturday, the INEC Chairman had announced the postponement of the elections by one week.
Addressing a conference in Abuja on Saturday afternoon, he said the commission was prepared for the elections, but had to postpone, as a result of the challenges.
He also noted that sensitive materials had been returned to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to Yakubu, some materials were not delivered in due time because of bad weather, and such materials that should have been flown by air, had to be transported by road and as such, there was delay.
He also noted that there had been attempts to sabotage the efforts of the commission referenced in fire incidents that occurred at the commission’s offices in Abia, Plateau and Anambra states.
The meeting is still ongoing.
More to follow…

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E2%80%94-and-why-%E2%80%94-inec-postponed-2011-and-2015-elections target=_blank>FLASHBACK: How — And Why — INEC Postponed 2011 And 2015 Elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has characteristically postponed Nigeria’s elections, earlier scheduled to hold on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
Few hours to when Nigerians were expected to cast their votes in various polling units, Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, said after “careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan”, the commission decided to postpone the presidential and National Assembly elections to February 23, 2019, while governorship and state House of Assembly elections will now hold on March 9, 2019.
This is not the first time major elections would be postponed in Nigeria. In 2011 and 2015, the commission cited late arrival of voting materials and insecurity, respectively, for the reason it postponed the elections it had years to prepare for.
In 2011, Voting Had Commenced in Some Places When INEC Announced Postponement
This fits into the pattern in which the 2011 elections were postponed. In the early hours of April 2, 2011, Professor Attahiru Jega, the then INEC Chairman, announced that the scheduled elections would not go on due to unavailability of materials.
At the time, the commission said the reason for the postponement was “the unanticipated emergency we have experienced with late arrival of result sheets in many parts of the country. The result sheets are central to the elections and their integrity… the Commission has taken the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the National Assembly elections to Monday, April 4, 2011.”
The exercises were again postponed to Saturday, April 16, 2011, for the presidential elections and April 26, 2011 for the state Houses of Assembly and governorship elections.
Security Chiefs Called for Postponement of 2015 Elections
2015 was not different. Only that time, the commission announced the postponement a week ahead of the scheduled time and gave insecurity as its reason.
The commission said since it could not guarantee protection for its personnel and materials, as well as voters during elections, it agreed to adjust the election calendar for the Nigeria’s security agencies to tighten up loss ends.
Jega said: “Consequently, the Commission has decided to reschedule the 2015 general elections thus: the national elections (i.e. Presidential and National Assembly) are now to hold on March 28th, 2015; while the state elections (Governorship and State Assembly) are to hold on April 11th, 2015.”
One would expect that the electoral commission would have developed a robust anticipatory strategy to militate against sudden postponement of election. However, eight years later, the commission claimed it reviewed its plans hours to elections and realised its own unpreparedness.

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target=_blank>NYSC Members Stranded As INEC Postpones Elections

Members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) co-opted as ad hoc staff for the 2019 elections have been left stranded, following the postponement hours before the scheduled presidential and National Assembly election.
Pictures of corps members sleeping on bare floors and in commercial buses have surfaced on social media since the postponement.
Nigerians on social media are raising funds to provide accommodation, security and feeding for them.
Woli Arole, a popular social media comedian, called on the stranded corps members to reach out to him for assistance.
He wrote on his Instagram page: “These are pictures of people that volunteered to be INEC officials today oooo. No accommodation, no security; many of them are CORPERS, and yet INEC postponed the ELECTION. Please what would these ones do when they get stranded? How would they feed? How would they transport themselves? This is so SAD. Abeg, if you are a CORPER or you are among any of these people and you are STRANDED, DM me quickly so I can support you in anyway I can. This is just SAD.”
The IG post was accompanied with pictures of a tight and overcrowded room, in a commercial bus, and on the bare floor in an open space.
The hasgtag, #corpersreachout2019, used by Nigerians to call attention on the corps members’ plight, has been trending on Twitter for a few hours.
Bankole Wellington, a musician and House of Assembly candidate contesting on the platform of the Modern Democratic Party (MDP), also called on Nigerians to “spare a thought” for corps members who are most affected by the development.
“While we are all frustrated, please spare a thought for people who are most affected by the postponement… like our corpers who had to spend the night in terrible sleeping conditions, people who had weddings or other milestone occasion planned, etc. May God help us all.”
Another Twitter user, @biolakazeem, claimed some corps members sleeping in an open field in Abuja almost got trampled by cows grazing on the field.
“Sitting with 3 youth corpers who slept on the grass outside INEC office, narrowly avoided being (sic) trampled to death at 3am by over 200 cows that were grazing nearby and approaching the field they were sleeping on. They were apoplectic that they will have to do this again next week”.
However, Segun Awosanya, convener of the #EndSARS movement and a human rights activist, called for the sack of the INEC official in charge of the NYSC members.
“I however must recommend that @inecnigeria relieves whosoever that is in charge of the youth corpers. The inhumane condition they had been subjected to is unforgivable. This must be addressed and corrected within the buffer period. This is unacceptable by all standards.”
He appealed to the corps members to see their plight as a sacrifice for the nation.
In a tweet thread, the social justice advocate, said: “I appeal in my personal capacity to all youth corpers to see this as one of the sacrifices made for our nationhood. You are all heroes and no one can take that from you… Let’s soldier on and in the end we will reap the benefits. INEC will make it up to you guys.”

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Can An Election Still Be Free, Fair When It Is Postponed 9 Hours Before Schedule? By Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

On April 2, 2011, INEC shifted the national assembly election by seven days (to April 9), citing “logistics and operational” problems. And it took this decision while voting had already commenced in some parts of the country.
Really, what happened was that the electoral umpire had sent election materials meant for the governorship polls scheduled for April 16 to some states instead of those for the legislative election. This was an epochal, embarrassing logistics failure by INEC.
However, the Commonwealth Observer Mission in its report on April 18 said INEC managed to hold a “reasonable election” on the rescheduled date. In other words, that the exercise was shifted did not “totally negatively” affect its outcome.
“The experience of 2 April should not have happened. While INEC managed to hold a reasonable election on 9 April and improved its performance further on 16 April, it clearly needs to improve on its organisational capacity,” it said. 
In fact, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Washington DC, US, gave INEC some accolades for the conduct of the rescheduled national assembly election.
Here is what it said in its report: “Reports from NDI observers contrasted markedly with observations recorded during the 2007 polls, when systemic and widespread irregularities subverted the overall credibility of those elections.  In this election, (April 9 rescheduled national assembly election), polls were conducted in a generally calm and peaceful atmosphere, with many Nigerians demonstrating eagerness and determination to vote despite long queues and hats weather conditions.”
On February 7, the 2015 general election was shifted by five weeks, seven days before the exercise. Though INEC relied on security advice and not problems of logistics in taking the decision, the rescheduled election was largely free, fair and peaceful. This is according to some international observers.
So, it is clear that rescheduling an election may not colossally affect its turn-out or credibility. I know this is a difficult position to hold at this time that many Nigerians would like to have the head of INEC on a spike, but we must look beyond emotions and a bit into the nitty-gritty.
However, it is grossly irresponsible of INEC to have postponed the election nine hours before the schedule. Really, it is gravitationally sloppy of it. The electoral body had four years to prepare for the exercise; this tardiness can simply not be excused.
Importantly, INEC should not lease itself to political influence. Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, had pensively asked the electoral body to postpone conducting any election in Zamfara state so as to accommodate candidates from the APC. The party has been banned from fielding candidates in the state owing to the fraudulent primary elections it conducted.
As it is, if INEC succumbs to this wheedling, it will be clear that it did not postpone the election for logistics reasons, but for political reasons.
Fredrick is a media personality.
Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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