The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says there is no going back on its decision on electioneering campaigns in the country.
This is according to Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, who spoke at a stakeholders’ meeting on the general elections in Abuja on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
The electoral umpire called the meeting to address political parties and others following the postponement of the polls initially scheduled to commence on Saturday.
“Will campaign resume? Campaigns closed at midnight of Thursday last week and for the period that remains, campaigns will remain closed,” Professor Yabuku said in response to a question about whether campaigns would resume or not.
He explained that in addition to the issues of campaigns, there is no plan to resume the collection of Permanent Voter Cards, PVC, for the electorate.
According to the INEC boss, all the other processes as provided for in the main timetable and schedule of activities will remain in force.
He further responded to a question from a party chairman who asked why the commission refused to apologise to Nigerians who had waited patiently for the elections.
Professor Yabuku noted that he had done this “in the last paragraph of my statement”, although he did not use “exactly the same adjective”.
He said the staff of the electoral body under his leadership were public officers accountable to the Nigerian people.
The INEC boss said their first responsibility was to protect the interest of the public and vowed that they would take the responsibility seriously.
“On my behalf as chairman and on behalf of the commissioners, we regret what happened yesterday, or early this morning,” he pleaded.
On why they waited until the early hours of Saturday before announcing the shift, Professor Mahmood explained that INEC was confident that the polls would go on as scheduled.
“For three days, since Wednesday, many of the commissioners, including myself have virtually been sleeping in Abuja Airport,” he lamented.
“We mobilised all national assets to ensure that we deliver what remains of electoral logistics to locations and to conduct the elections,” he said.