Afenifere kicks as INEC says elections may be postponed, cancelled due to insecurity

THE Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against plans to postpone or cancel the 2023 general elections.

Afenifere gave the warning while reacting to INEC’s suggestion that the election may be cancelled or postponed due to the high level of insecurity in parts of the country.

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, had, while speaking at the validation of election security training resources held in Abuja on Monday, January 9, lamented the growing wave of election-related violence across the country.


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Yakubu, represented by the Chairman of the Board of The Electoral Institute (TEI), INEC’s training arm, Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, expressed fears that the trend, if not checked, could lead to the cancellation or postponement of the polls.

“Moreover, if the insecurity is not monitored and dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder the declaration of elections results and precipitate a constitutional crisis, ” he said.

Stating that elections are conducted through the provision of enabling environment, the Commission assured that it will not leave anything to chance in ensuring that security is provided for election personnel and materials during the polls.

“Consequently, in preparations for the 2023 general elections, the Commission is not leaving anything to chance in ensuring that intensive and extensive security is provided for election personnel, materials and processes.

“This is particularly significant to the Commission given the current insecurity challenges in various parts of the country and the fact that the National Youth Service Corps members constitute the core of the Polling Unit Election officials.”

Mahmoud charged all security personnel in particular and all elected officials in general to be security-conscious and alert to unusual activities in their environment, adding that they must be fully equipped to deal with any challenge at all times.

Reacting in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Jare Ajayi, on Tuesday, January 12, Afenifere said attempts to cancel the polls will not be unacceptable.

Ajayi said that the polls slated for February and March this year should not only be conducted successfully, but winners must be sworn into office on May 29, 2023, as stipulated in the Amended 1999 Constitution.

“But we feel that there is the need to let anyone thinking of postponement or cancellation of the elections that such a thing is and will remain unacceptable, no matter the reason,” Afenifere said in the statement.




     

     

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    “We recall that in 2015, there was insecurity too, to the extent that some local government areas, specifically in Borno State, were in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists. Yet elections were held. There was also insecurity in 2019 and elections were not stopped.

    “Afenifere felt the need to sound this note of warning so that whoever may be thinking of postponing or altering the election calendar should know that such a thing would not be accepted.”

    The group added, “In Nigeria, there is often the tendency to fly a kite. Most of the times, such kites are on policies or steps that were usually not in the best interest of the Nigerian public. This is why it is very important to clearly sound this note of warning without any ambiguity.

    “This is why we are stating clearly that Nigerians are prepared for the elections just as the whole world is awaiting the elections. Nothing whatsoever should alter the schedule or cause postponement let alone cancellation.”

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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