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INEC: Why We Refused To Stagger Polls




Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has said that the commission ruled out staggered elections as according to him it would be against the precept of free and fair elections.

Speaking at a meeting with stakeholders on Saturday, Yakubu also ruled out claims of internal sabotage in the commission to derail the election.

He traced the problems that marred the election to the movement of logistics which he said was worsened by inclement weather.

Meanwhile, there were speculations that Yakubu was under pressure by the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Federal Government to conduct staggered elections to the intent that it would give the APC the opportunity to have a better chance in areas where the polls are shifted.

Defending why the election was as such postponed, he said:
“All these challenges mean that there have been differences in preparations from one State to another. Our overall assessment is that if the elections went on as planned, polls will not open at 8am in all polling units nationwide.

“Yet, we are determined that polls must hold at the same time everywhere in the country. In this way, elections will not be staggered. This is very important to public perception of elections as free. fair and credible. We promised Nigerians that we shall be open. transparent and responsive. 

“Faced with these challenges, we initially thought that we only require a maximum of 24 hours to resolve the logistics issues involved and complete our deployment for the election. This would mean shifting the elections to commence on Sunday 17th February 2019. However, given the restriction of movement during elections, that could affect many voters who worship on Sundays.

“While the Commission was considering the following Monday 18th February 2019 as an option, our lCT Department advised us that it would require 5 -6 days to reconfigure about 180,000 Smart Card Readers earlier programmed to work only on election day Saturday 16th February 2019. It is for this reason that the Commission decided to adjust the election dates to Saturday 23rd February 2019 for Presidential and National Assembly elections and a consequential adjustment of Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council elections to Saturday 9th March 2019.”

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