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Group blames polls rescheduling on INEC’s unpreparedness

[FILES] A woman checks her name in voting lists at the State INEC Independent Electoral Comission Office in Jimeta on February 16, 2019. Nigeria’s electoral watchdog postponed presidential and parliamentary elections for one week, just hours before polls were due to open. The two main political parties swiftly condemned the move and accused each other of orchestrating the delay as a way of manipulating the vote. Luis TATO / AFP

Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Akwa Ibom State branch, has blamed the abrupt postponement of the federal elections billed for Saturday, February 16, on inadequate preparation on the part of the electoral umpire.

It expressed disappointment over the development, which it said negatively impacted the country’s economy.

The chairman, Pius Ntuen, in a statement, faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for inadequate preparation, urging it to ensure that all personnel, materials and other logistics were deployed for the rescheduled elections to satisfy the aspirations of stakeholders, including the enthusiastic electorate.

“We call on INEC to, as a matter of urgency, do everything humanly possible to ensure that all materials meant for the stakeholders and observers be given to them as veritable tools for the effective observation of the elections,” CDHR stated.

The rights group also beckoned all political parties, their supporters and agents to eschew violence and ensure peaceful elections in Akwa Ibom.

It admonished political parties, their agents and supporters not to cause violence or disrupt elections, while urging security agencies to “maintain absolute neutrality, total impartiality and complete objectivity” expected of them under the law to reinforce the confidence reposed in them by the electorate for credible elections.

“We should always realise that there is life after elections and that an individual or group’s ambition should not thwart or disrupt the social equilibrium that cements the unity in the state,” it added.

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