Nigerians deserve better from INEC – Archbishop Martins

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The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr Alfred Adewale Martins, has expressed strong reservations over the sudden postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections by INEC few hours to the commencement.

In a statement issued in Lagos, the clergy said the sudden cancellation of the polls by INEC, apart from the negative consequences on the socio- political and economic lives of the citizenry, had further cast aspersions on INEC’s image.

Archbishop Martin wondered why the Prof Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC arrived at the sudden decision to suspend the elections when he had all along assured Nigerians of the commission’s preparedness to conduct free, fair and hitch-free elections, irrespective of pressures from any quarter.

“I join the rest of millions of well- meaning Nigerians to express my deep disappointment over the sudden postponement of the February 16, 2019 elections by INEC. The action is very regrettable and I consider it a serious betrayal of the confidence of millions of Nigerians who had prepared themselves to come out in their large numbers to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice.

“This is most regrettable when one considers various implications of this postponement to many aspects of peoples’ lives. Apart from the huge sums of money that would have been lost due to the postponement, we can only imagine many inconveniences the decision would cause the citizens who had planned their weddings and other engagements to fit the election plans.

“Considering the amount of money made available to INEC, its promise of preparedness and the time at its disposal to put the necessary machinery in place, Nigerians certainly deserve an apology,” he said.

While urging the electorate to be alert and not to allow the sudden postponement to deter them from fulfilling their civil responsibilities next week Saturday, February 23 and on March 9, as indicated by the electoral body, Archbishop Martins implored the commission to do all that is necessary to redeem its image by ensuring that all identified lapses were attended to, to forestall any future postponement.

He said Nigerians deserve to go and vote without any conspiracy theories hunting them in their minds.

He also warned the political class against interfering with the logistics being put in place by INEC in order to allow the commission a free hand to carry out its activities.

He said: “One is concerned about the safety of the sensitive materials that have already been dispatched to some of the states especially in these days that fire outbreaks have been happening repeatedly in INEC’s facilities. We hope the security operatives would be on top of their games in safeguarding lives and properties ahead of the newly scheduled elections.”

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