By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has condemned the waste of resources and inconveniences, caused by the postponement of Saturday’s elections.
Spokesman of the forum, Muhammad Ibrahim, in a statement on Saturday said, although the ACF was not privy to the nature of the challenges the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was facing, he maintained that the postponement should have been announced in good time to avoid the waste of resources and time incurred by stakeholders.
“The ACF learned with regret the INEC’s decision to re-schedule the elections slated for 16th February and 2nd March 2019, citing logistic challenges as the main reasons for the postponement.
” ACF appreciates the concern raised by INEC regarding its logistic preparation and its constitutional power to reschedule the elections for the express purpose of ensuring credible, free and fair elections that would meet universal acceptance.
“However, though ACF is not privy to the nature of the challenges and the time INEC noticed them, the forum thinks the shift should have been done earlier in order to reduce cost and inconveniences for all the parties concerned” the forum said.
It noted that “the earlier assurances given to Nigerians by INEC that it would deliver on credible, free and fair elections on schedule, heightened the enthusiasm of the people to look forward to the scheduled 2019 general elections.
“The political parties and NGOs embarked on vigorous campaigns and sensitization programs on the need to a free and fair elections.
“Foreign and domestic election observers mobilized themselves to participate in today’s elections process.
” Unfortunately, five hours to the scheduled elections the same INEC has reversed itself, citing logistic challenges.
“ACF and indeed all Nigerians have no option but to accept the reasons advanced by INEC and to have faith that it will live up to its promise to hold the re-scheduled elections on the 23rd February and 9th March 2019.”
The forum urged Nigerians to be patient and continue to persevere during this trying moment just as it called for calm, restraint and continued prayers for the peaceful conduct of the elections.
“It is only our collective resolve to respect the tenets of democracy that will strengthen our unity and peaceful coexistence” the statement added.
It further called on INEC to use the opportunity of the postponement and ensure that adequate logistic preparations are put in place for a successful re-scheduled elections for 23rd February and 9th March 2019.
The forum also called on the police and other security agencies to prepare adequately to provide the needed security cover to INEC officials, the electorates, election observers and to maintain peace and order during and after the elections.