Election postponement: Huge sums wasted as INEC say ‘it was a difficult decision’

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INEC chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood
By Our Reporter
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has incurred huge sums of money following the postponement of the general elections by a week owing to what it claimed logistics and operational concerns.
The presidential and national assembly elections will now take place on February 23 while the governorship, states house of assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections polls will now hold on March 9.
However, various monetary expenses that would have been used in the conduct of the today’s polls have been wasted and a fresh allocation will be budgeted.
Apex News gathered that transportation of materials, allowances for security personnel and INEC staff among others had to begin afresh wasting what was used.
In October 2018, an approval of N242.2 billion was given to the federal government by the National Assembly to conduct the general elections.
Of this sum, INEC received N189billion, while the police was allocated N27.3billion. The Department of State Security (DSS) got N10.2billion, the office of the National Security Adviser, N9.4billion, N2.628billion for Nigerian Immigration Service, and N3.573billion for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Over 84million voters were expected to cast ballot in today’s elections.
Announcing the shift of the polls at about 2:30am Saturday, INEC chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood said a meeting with election stakeholders will take place at 2pm at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, to update them on the polls.
According to him, it was a difficult decision for the commission to take but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.
However, at the meeting to reschedule the meeting, there were divisions as some persons wanted the polls moved to Monday, February 18 but it later agreed the postponement be for a week to foreclose any unforeseen.
The APC Presidential Campaign Council spokesperson, Festus Keyamo, said it condemned the rescheduling of the polls but appealed to its supporters to remain patient and determined.
Also, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Chairman, Uche Secondus, condemned the postponement of the elections by INEC. His reaction was contained in a statement his spokesperson, Ike Abonyi.
Secondus described the development as a deliberate plot by President Muhammadu Buhari to cling on to power.
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State through it Secretary, Osa Nehikhare said the All Progressives Congress (APC) allegedly coerced INEC to shift the polls but only using poor logistics as excuse and described it as “sabotage.”
INEC chairman Professor Yakubu Mahmood’s statement on election shift
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met on Friday 15, February 2019, and reviewed its preparations for the 2019 general elections scheduled for Saturday, 16 February 2019, and Saturday 2 March 2019. Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan, and the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible. Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly elections to Saturday, 23 February 2019. Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly, and Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections are rescheduled to Saturday, 9 March 2019. This will afford the commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections. This was a difficult decision for the commission to take but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy. The commission will meet with key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2pm on Saturday, 16 February 2019, at the Abuja International Conference Centre. Thank you very much.”

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