Balarabe Musa, NLC chief disagree over calls for postponement of polls
FORMER Governor of the old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Vice President, Comrade Issa Aremu have disagreed over calls by some Nigerians that the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) should postpone the February general elections in order to enable millions of eligible voters to secure their permanent voters cards (PVCs) and perform their civic rights.
While Musa maintained that INEC has not inspired confidence among Nigerians to ensure that they have registered all eligible Nigerian voters to participate in the forthcoming polls through the on-going distribution of the PVCs, Aremu however, said that the fact that INEC has kept to its timetable creditably and has assured that all eligible voters would get their PVCs before elections dates was enough assurances from the electoral body that the polls will be successful.
Both the former governor and Labour Chief spoke at the launching of four books: “Reflections on Labour and Trade Unions”, “Reflections on Industry and Economy”, “Reflections on Africa and Global Affairs” and “Reflections on Friends, Comrades and Heroes;” authored by Aremu, in Kaduna, just as they urged the presidential candidates to tell Nigerians workers their plan for workers welfare against the backdrop of the present inflationary trend.
Musa said, “This election should be postponed. INEC certainly is not prepared for it and secondly, we understand that they are rushing to distribute few permanent voters cards through unorthodox and unusual methods.”
According to him, INEC has discredited the electoral process with its recent decision to co-opt traditional rulers and community leaders in the distribution of PVCs to potential voters, stressing, “they are organizing community leaders to distribute the PVCs and they are even using village heads to distribute the cards. They shouldn’t have done this.”
Musa argued: “I am one of those calling for the postponement of the elections. Firstly, INEC is not prepared to distribute even half of the PVCs to the electorates, which is about 68 million Nigerians. We were told that they have only succeeded in distributing about 30 million cards to Nigerians. And they are not making the cards available to people in their localities, especially those who are no longer in their localities because of the security situation in the country.”
“And there are also those who are qualified to vote but they have not been registered to vote. So, you can see that INEC is not even prepared to enable half of the electorates to vote. So, who want to go through such an election, who wants to again, go through the same processes that always make Nigerian elections problematic.”
However, Comrade Aremu, differed that “many Nigerians have commended INEC for keeping up to its timetable which was released last year”, adding, “this included the timetable for the collection of nomination forms, the timetable dealing with the beginning of campaigns and so on.”