By Chioma Ugboma
Uyo – The All Progressives Congress (APC) in the United Kingdom has called for review of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) operational model with a view to reforming it.
The chapter made the call following INEC’s postponement of the general elections on Saturday.
In a statement copied to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Uyo on Monday, the Chairman of the APC in the United Kingdom, Dr Philip Idaewor, said that the postponement indicated a systemic exhaustion within INEC and necessitated review of its operational model and enabling laws.
“This is with a view to radically reforming it and making it fit for purpose. This is because well organised free, fair and credible elections are important to the enthronement and sustenance of democracy.
“The announcement by INEC to postpone the 2019 General Elections has come as a huge shock to us, especially given the timing of the announcement, when political parties had already deployed huge resources to the field for the elections.
“We have carefully listened to all the explanations given by INEC as well as the reactions of our party’s leadership, our presidential campaign council, President Muhammadu Buhari and international observers.
“We align ourselves with the position of our party leadership, our presidential campaign council and Mr President.
“We are saddened that INEC leadership did not deem it necessary to brief Nigerians on a regular basis when it realised the difficulties it listed as reasons for this postponement.
“We note that the decision by INEC falls well below the expectations for a seamless performance, given that INEC has conducted similar elections since 1999 when this fourth republic started, with opportunities for extensive field experiences and organisational discipline that would have ensured operational options even in unforeseen circumstances.
“Moreover, INEC leadership presented the needed budget for this elections, with evidence showing that all of INEC’s requests were fully met to ensure successful implementation of this election cycle,” he said.
Ideawor said that INEC should tell Nigerians why elections could not hold in states which did not have the logistics problems it listed.
“Why postpone the elections in the entire country? What happens now to those ballot papers and other election materials already distributed to local government areas around the country?
“What is the cost of this postponement to our national purse? Where will money for another deployment come from? Who takes responsibility for this, and what is the consequence?” he asked.
He, however, urged Nigerians to refrain from spreading messages capable of heating up the polity.
“Nigeria needs peace to continue on the path of national reclamation started by the APC government led by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
NAN reports that INEC on Saturday morning postponed presidential and National Assembly elections, slated for same day, to Feb. 23.
It moved governorship and state assembly elections from March 2 to March. 9.
The electoral umpire said that logistics problems necessitated the postponement.