By Usman Aliyu
Ilesha-Baruba(Kwara), Feb. 16, 2019 (NNN) Some candidates contesting the National Assembly elections in Kwara on Saturday expressed divergent opinions over the decision of the Independent National Electoral Party (INEC) to shift the general elections.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN), some the candidates bemoaned what they described as the continued cycle of unpreparedness in election management in the country.
NNN reports that INEC had shifted the Presidential and National Assembly elections to Feb. 23.
The Governorship and House of Assembly as well as FCT area council elections have also been shifted from March 2 to March 9.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, confirmed NNN report of the shift of the elections, attributing this to logistic and operational problems.
But Alhaji Umar Sadiq, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Kwara North Senatorial seat, said INEC should have learnt lessons and prepared better for the polls.
He, however, said that he was not disturbed if the postponement was to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
“It is better to go for it if for any reason postponement is the only way to go.
“As for us as APC and a candidate, we are always going to be ready for election anytime any day,’’ he said.
Sadiq also said he was against the call for the resignation of the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, saying elections in Nigeria had at various time been postponed due to logistic problems.
He, however, urged the electoral commission to strengthen the nation’s democracy by adopting hitch-free better methodology of putting logistics in olace.
” To say INEC chairman is responsible and should be removed is what I don’t subscribe to”, he said.
The APC candidate urged the electorate to be resolute and committed to developing the country’s democracy.
Also speaking, Alhaji Abubakar Musa, the PDP candidate for Baruten/Kaiama Federal Constituency wondered why election postponement would become a tradition in the country.
He explained that since the development happened in 2015, it was expected that INEC would have addressed whatever logistic challenges and issues it had.
The candidate expressed support for the call for Yakubu’s resignation if this would ensure credible elections.
He urged the electorate and his supporters to be calm and never be discouraged in exercising their franchise.
But Mallam Mohammed Omar-Bio, the APC candidate for Baruten/Kaiama Federal Constituency seat, described the postponement as “the will of God.’’
He, however, urged INEC to tackle its logistics challenges even if it involved flying its election materials across the country.
The candidate said that the development had caused discomfort to many Nigerians who had travelled long distances to participate in the elections.
He urged the electorate to be committed and resolute in participating in the rescheduled elections. (NNN)
(Edited by Mufutau Ojo)