The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on Nigerians to come out en masse this Saturday to exercise their franchise despite the letdown caused by INEC’s decision to postpone the elections few hours before commencement.
The Chairman of Atiku/Obi campaign council in Anambra State, Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze, made this call in Awka over the weekend.
Obaze regretted the wider economic implications and opportunity cost of the postponement. He maintained that four years was enough time for INEC to prepare for the elections. According to him, the postponement was a systemic failure on the part of INEC.
Obaze who was the candidate of the PDP during the 2017 governorship election in Anambra State said INEC must accept responsibility and apologise for causing so much frustration and international embarrassment to Nigerians.
He enjoined Nigerians, especially those who had traveled long distances to perform their civic duty to make further sacrifices and ensure that their voices are heard through the ballot on the rescheduled dates. He said the pains of four more years of hardship and uncertainty far outweigh the pains of sacrificing a week to get Nigeria working again.
On the issue of what impression Nigeria created before the international community as a result of the sudden postponement of election, the retired United Nations diplomat said the postponement was a total public relations disaster for Nigeria.
According to him, “the situation is embarrassing, especially when it is considered against the background of the assurances given by the Head of State in his national broadcast some days earlier and the assurances INEC continued to give even just few hours before the postponement was officially announced.”
He said, “We give some leeway to INEC and appreciate the enormity of challenges they faced, but what they have done, wittingly or unwittingly, is to shift the goalpost in the middle of the game. It is not acceptable.”
“INEC should revisit their directives that political campaigns should not be reopened. Our party takes a strong exception to that and if need be, we are willing to approach the court to seek interpretation of the Electoral Act.”
Responding to a question on the safety of sensitive materials that have already been deployed, Obaze said “our party in Anambra State will meet with the state Resident Electoral Commissioner to inspect those materials, just the way we inspected them when they arrived, to ensure that their sanctity has not been violated. And that should apply across board.”