“We demand greater openness and transparency”, Fashola Tells INEC

Babatunde Fashola2

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Directorate of Election Planning and Monitoring has demanded more transparency from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The party urged the commission to be open in its dealings ahead of the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Director of the Directorate and Minister of Power, Works and Housing made the demand at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja.

On election postponement, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood said that the decision was further necessitated after reviewing the level of the commission’s preparedness for the exercise.

He stressed that postponing the elections was a difficult decision, but was necessary for successful delivery of the elections and to consolidate on Nigeria’s democracy.

However, Fashola said there was need for the commission to keep Nigerians updated on preparations for the rescheduled elections. He also demanded more transparency.

“As a result of the common pain shared by us all, we demand greater openness and transparency in the Commission’s preparations ahead of Saturday 23rd February 2019 elections.

“We believe that members of the public should know what steps INEC have taken with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to assess, take inventory of materials and what their conditions are,” he said.

He added that the commission should also let Nigerians know if all materials required for the elections were in the country and if not what plans it had to ensure that they were on ground.

He said it was also necessary for the commission to let Nigerians know what transport logistics and further materials it required in terms of vehicles, boats, trucks, airplanes, helicopters, manpower and funding to execute the elections.

“In addition to all of these, we believe that INEC should brief Nigerians daily on an ongoing basis until this process is concluded.

“This is one way to elicit the buy-in of Nigerians that INEC is serious and this will replace disappointment with enthusiasm.

“INEC has the duty to now make its processes open, believable and inspiring. This is the road to free and fair elections which is a victory for Nigeria and not for any party,” he said.

He noted that before the elections were postponed, millions of Nigerians had sacrificed their time, resources and convenience to perform their national civic duty only to be disappointed by the postponement.

He added that as a political party, the disappointment of the APC was doubled.

This, he said was especially so because unlike some who were privy to the postponement, the APC got to know of it alongside the public a few hours before the polls opened.

“To the stranded youth corpers, voters and volunteers who have travelled at great cost to cast their votes, we empathise with you,” he said.

Fashola therefore, charged Nigerians to stay calm and be determined and to come out en masse on Feb. 23 to vote for the APC, presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhariand all the party’s senatorial and House of Representative candidates.

He urged Nigerians to convert their disappointment following the postponement of the elections to determination and to ensure that their previous sacrifices do not go to waste.

APC Proceeds With Campaign

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, says the governing party will embark on nationwide electioneering campaigns, even though the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has placed a ban on campaigns after announcing new dates for national elections.
While taking questions from stakeholders at the International Conference Center (ICC) in Abuja afterwards, Yakubu said the ban on campaigns placed on political parties 24 hours before elections in accordance with the electoral act, will continue, in spite of the postponement.

Section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act stipulates that “for the purposes of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day”.

However, Oshiomhole considers INEC’s stance on the campaign ban, in spite of the shift in date of the vote, flawed and inconsistent with the provisions of the electoral act.

I think we need to remind them across the country that elections have been rescheduled and they should have trust, faith, and remain determined to vote. The process of doing that would require that we return to campaign between now and Thursday this week. Friday is not a campaign day”, Oshiomhole said

“To ask us as a political party not to go out? The members, our people, would have forgotten. Some would have assumed that ‘look, I’m not sure what these people want’. And the result could be very, very low turnout. That is not good for a party that has huge, huge support base. It can only be good for a party that is not sure of its level of grassroots support.

“So, without consulting INEC, we are proceeding and we are ready to meet them in court. Because they cannot by administrative fiat amend or distort extra provisions in the relevant electoral act and those laws are not secret to INEC.”

PDP Proceeds With Campaign

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had also told INEC that it was going to defy its campaign embargo.

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said it “rejects the wrongful administrative prohibition of open campaigns by INEC, holding that such administrative pronouncement was erroneous, directly in conflict with the provision of the Electoral Act and is not backed by any other law in our country.

“The clear import of this provision, in the current situation, is that given the postponement of the election to February 23, 2019, the 24 hours requirement for closure of all public campaigning falls at midnight of February 21.

“The PDP reminds INEC that whenever its administrative pronouncement conflicts with the Electoral Act, such administrative pronouncement must bow before the law. The party charges INEC to be appropriately guided while directing its members to await further directives ahead of its reopening of campaigns”.

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