Contrary to reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was coerced into postponing the the 2015 elections, a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) has revealed that the commission was not prepared to conduct the election, hence the shift.
The REC, who is assigned to one of the northern state and spoke anonymously to Thisday said the advice of the security chiefs and the National Security Adviser (NSA) to shift the elections considering the security concerns in the North Eastern part of the country was a needed excuse to help INEC to be properly prepared for the election.
He also debunked claims that the RECs were opposed to the election shift during the meeting with the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, stating that the RECs gave Jega situation reports on each of the 36 states and Abuja, further aiding the decision of INEC.
The REC gave another reason for the postponement of the election, stating that the training and simulation exercise for INEC officials and thousands of ad hoc staff on the use of the Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) had not yet been conducted.
He said: “The training manual is not ready while simulations for the card readers have not been conducted. Our personnel and ad hoc staff do not know how to use the card readers, and some that have been tested were not working.
“Apart from this, over 23 million registered voters had not picked up their cards; that is about 34 per cent of registered voters. So were we going to disenfranchise them under the pretext that not all of them would vote?
“It is not INEC’s responsibility to dwell on voter apathy. Ours is to ensure that all cards get to the voters. Whether they turn out to vote or not is their prerogative, not that of INEC.
“We were far from being ready and had we proceeded with our state of unpreparedness in February, we would have faced greater challenges than what we encountered during the 2011 general election when we were forced to postpone the elections by two weeks.
“So the insecurity in the North-east has offered INEC a lifeline to get its act together and sort out most, if not all, pending issues before the polls start on March 28.”