The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has uncovered the real reason for shifting the 2019 general elections which outcome won incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari another four years.
According to Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voters Education, INEC, the country would have been plunged into chaos if the election was not shifted.
Okoye speaking at the 6th Catholic Men Organization (CMO) celebration, in Kaduna on Sunday, while delivering a lecture on the topic: “Dynamics and Mechanics of Free and Fair Elections,” also added that external influences, rather than internal forces, were responsible for INEC’s inability to conduct election as scheduled.
Gave the rundown of reasons behind the postponement, Okoye said;“The amended electoral bill was transmitted to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria close to the election.
“Planning in uncertainty. The Electoral Management Body did not know whether electronic voting would be used and there were provisions in the new bill that needed to be explained and mastered.
“Procurement issues and non-delivery of few materials to the end users created uncertainty, in terms of the security of materials and the capacity of INEC to deliver credible elections. Ballot papers and result sheets were printed outside the country and their delivery on good time became huge issue.
“Rescheduling of the 2019 elections on account of logistic challenges and the backlash that followed the rescheduling: Political parties incurred costs, INEC incurred costs, the Nigerian people incurred costs. Some travelled long distances to vote. Some just disengaged from the electoral process.
“Opaque Party Primaries and political uncertainty: Some of the political parties breached clear provisions of the law in the conduct of party primaries and inundated the courts with cases arising therefrom.
“The burning of INEC offices, facilities and equipment procured and packaged for the 2019 elections created setbacks and the Commission was forced to rationalise or do emergency procurement.
“The intimidation, maiming and killing of INEC staff and the collation of false and procedure results and declaration of unintended winners.
“The desperation of the political elite in corrupting INEC staff, buying votes, by-passing of, not using the smart card readers and other unwholesome electoral malpractices (also affected the election). In some instances, INEC could not deploy or deploy on time and voters disengaged from the process.
“Some security personnel performed creditably while some jumped into the muddy waters of partisan politics and assisted their preferred candidates.”