Election postponement: CISLAC seeks investigation by NASS

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The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has demanded an investigation by the National Assembly on the postponement of the general elections.

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It also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tender an unreserved apology for the postponement of the Saturday’s general elections.

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CISLAC, which urged INEC to apologise to Nigerian voters, also charged the electoral umpire to tender an apology to local and international observers.

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The Executive Director of the organisation, Mr Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, made the call in a statement he released in Abuja.

”We call on INEC to tender an unreserved apology to Nigerian and international observers, who have committed their time, presence and financial resources to monitor the electoral process with assurance that elections would hold as earlier scheduled.

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”This apology must also be rendered to Nigerian voters who have invested time and resources to sacrifice the day for them to discharge their civic responsibility,” he said.

He said the organisation was seriously perturbed by the sudden postponement few hours to the polls.

”We express unreserved disappointment over the reported poor preparatory processes by the electoral body that disproportionately hampered adequate deployment of electoral materials to many parts of the country with resultant postponement.

”We condemn such abrupt decision informed by deliberate abuse of independent power that may discredit subsequent position by the commission as an ‘Independent Body’ before national and international observers,” he said.

According to him, “we are not unaware of systemic conflict of interests and questionable procurement process imbibed by the various positions in the commission.”

He said this had created ”tendency for mutual sabotage among the three levels of appointees—national commissioners, RECs and appointed relatives to the directors in various departments.”

”We are concerned by the wastages and losses the postponement would cause the country, civil society and international community that have committed whopping financial and human resources to deployment and observation missions to ensure free, fair and credible elections that will be acceptable to all,” he said.

Musa-Rafsanjani, therefore, called on the National Assembly to immediately “constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate the sudden postponement to clear the commission of public doubt that her decision was not informed by desperate desires of unjust individuals or groups who want to assume or sustain power by all illegitimate means.”

“We demand adequate security for both materials and human resources deployed by the Commission so far to the field to avert susceptibility to violations and attacks by unpatriotic individuals or groups across the country.

”We demand immediate assurances by the commission that the new electoral date—February 23rd is certain, and the distributed sensitive materials will be kept under appropriate supervision and security till the new date.

”We further encourage civil society groups, media, national and international observation missions to sustain surveillance on the electoral process to promote free, fair and credible elections that will be acceptable to all,” he said.

*Photo: Musa- Rafsanjani

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