By Philip Yatai and Sani Abdulrahman
Kaduna, Feb. 20, 2019 Some residents of Kaduna on Wednesday expressed doubt on ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct credible elections.
The residents, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria said that the failure of the electoral umpire to hold the elections as earlier scheduled had exposed its inadequacies.
They, however, said that if the elections hold as rescheduled, they would turnout to cast their votes.
According to them, the postponement of the elections from Feb. 16 to Feb. 23 and March 2 to March 9 had cast a cloud of uncertainty over the outcome of the elections in spite of assurances by INEC.
Malam Saifullahi Yahaya believed that the postponement of the elections had provided an opportunity for political parties that might want to rig to fine-tune their strategies.
Yahaya said that although INEC had assured Nigerians that elections materials earlier deployed to some states and local government areas on Saturday had been retrieved, it nonetheless still raises concerns.
“There would have been no cause for alarm if INEC had postponed the election days before the fixed date for the elections; people would have adjusted to it, but hours to the elections? This is suspicious.
“Similarly, the reports of people allegedly caught in possession of electoral materials or forged ones has continue to increase by the day since the distribution of the elections materials.
“This development and couple with reports going around that some INEC officials have been bought by either the ruling party or the oppositions to do their bidding has put a serious doubt in my mind that the Saturday’s election would be credible,” he said.
Similarly, Tijjani Adamu also said that INEC had not demonstrated that it has the capacity to conduct credible elections considering the developments that trailed the postponement of the election.
Adamu said that apart from the issue of logistics, insufficient card readers, permanent voter cards, fake election results and other items in the hands of politician was another disturbing development.
“I am not so sure Nigerian will accept the outcome of the election, that is if it eventually holds.”
The feeling was no different for Raiyyanu Ibrahim, another resident, said the developments around the electoral process in the last few days has not given him hope of acceptable and credible poll.
“Already there is allegations that some of the INEC officials have been compromised, how then do you expect a credible election.
“We will only go out and vote and pray to Allah to take control, but certainly I am doubtful if the election would be credible.”
However, Solomon Chukwuma, another resident, said that all hope was not lost, stressing that INEC can conduct a credible election “if it changes its strategies and cleans its house of bad eggs.”
He said that the credibility of the rescheduled election would determine the future of democracy in the country.
Chukuwa stressed that INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu must work hard to save his image and that of the country.
“Therefore, I am confident that INEC will do the needful to save Nigeria and its nascent democracy,” he said.
Edited by Bayo Sekoni/Maharazu Ahmed