The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) , Mahmood Yakubu, has stressed that there is no possibility that the 2019 general elections will be postponed.
Yakubu made this known in an interview posted on You Tube.
What did Mahmood say?
According to Mahmood “I cannot see any possibility of a postponement. We started this a long time ago; we have gone ahead with preparations. INEC is not even contemplating the possibility of a postponement.”
Is INEC prepared for the forthcoming elections?
The chairman said that to ensure adequate preparation for the forthcoming elections, INEC had contacted the National Youth Service Corps to release corps members for elections.
Yakubu added, “We are liaising with the NYSC for ad hoc workers to be used for the elections, and where there are shortfalls, the commission has a very clear policy: we will make up the difference by using students of federal tertiary institutions.
He said the commission had replaced over 62,000 ballot boxes, which were either damaged or destroyed while also procuring an additional 200,000 ballot boxes for the presidential election.
On the possibility of electoral malpractices
According to Yakubu, electoral malpractice would be effectively tackled with the introduction of technology which has made it impossible for any party to win an election by a wide margin.
He said the Permanent Voter Cards and the smart card readers had been able to tackle ballot rigging, hence the Ekiti and Osun governorship polls last year were tightly contested.
The INEC boss said, “Between 2015 and November 2018, we conducted elections in 195 constituencies, the largest number of offseason elections.
The turnout varied from a little over 50 per cent in Katsina to as low as 2.9 per cent in Ifako/Ijaye in Lagos and 3.4 per cent in Eti Osa state constituency in Lagos.
“I think because elections in Nigeria have progressively and incrementally improved, there is no possibility now that you will have the kind of margins that we used to experience in our elections before the introduction of technology, basically the PVC and the smart card reader,” he said.
INEC lacks credibility to conduct elections-Obasanjo
Despite Mahmood’s repeated assurances that 2019 elections would be free and credible, former president Olusegun Obasanjo negated this view on Sunday in an open letter titled “Points for concern and action.”
Obasanjo claimed that that the commission’s claim cannot be relied upon due to its handling of electoral matters in the past adding that “I believe more in action than in words and in past record than in promise.”
He also expressed serious doubt about the integrity and impartiality of INEC in conducting credible elections citing the commission’s ‘unnecessary’ interference in Osun state’s governorship election in 2018.