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JUST IN: Abdulsalami C’ttee, INEC Officials Meet

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National Peace Committee and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials are currently meeting following the postponement of the election this morning.

INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu had announcement the postponement of the 2019 general at its headquarters following a review of its preparations that indicated that conducting the election today was no longer feasible.

According to Yakubu, Saturday, 23 February 2019 has been fixed for the presidential and the national assembly elections while 9 March 2019 was fixed for the Governorship, State House of Assembly and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Councils elections.

While journalists and other stakeholders are waiting at the International Conference Centre (ICC) for a briefing from the INEC chairman, the Director of Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr Oluwole Osaze Uzzi said he is holding a meeting with members of the National Peace Committee headed by former Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar.

According to Uzzi, the INEC Chairman will still brief the stakeholders as soon as he ends the meeting with the NPC.

The Abdulsalami Abubakar committee was instrumental to the peaceful transition Nigeria had in 2015.

Last year, the Committee met with INEC, Security agencies, the media, political parties and some key candidates and discussed ways that will lead to peaceful, free and fair election.

The committee also committed all the presidential candidates into signing a final peace agreement and acceptance of the 2019 election results last Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Election Analysis Centre (EAC) of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has said it was shocked by the postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

INEC announced in the early hours of the morning that presidential and parliamentary elections due today would be rescheduled to next Saturday, while gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections scheduled for March 2 would be shifted to March 9.

“Our surprise stems from repeated reassurances from INEC that it was fully ready to conduct the elections and that there was no possibility of postponement,” the EAC said in a statement signed by the director of CDD Idayat Hassan and Prof. Adele Jinadu who leads the EAC.

“We recognise that elections represent a huge logistical challenge, particularly as the 2019 elections is the largest in Nigeria’s history and the largest in Africa. However, we were hopeful that lessons from the 2011 and 2015 elections would have been learnt by 2019,” the statement added.

In addition, the EAC called on INEC to ensure it takes urgent steps to reassure Nigerian and the international community that it will be ready to conduct free, fair and credible elections on the new dates.

However, the EAC maintained that it was worried that certain sensitive materials had already been deployed in various parts of the country and urged INEC to urgently affirm to the public that these materials would be safe.

“We hope that INEC will take advantage of the extra time provided by the postponement of the elections to rapidly and robustly address any weaknesses in project management, logistics management and public communication,” the EAC said.

“There is an urgent need to re-energise Nigerians to turn out to vote so as to avoid voter apathy, and we call on civil society and the media to assist in this process.”

Finally, it is asking Nigerians to not allow the postponement to stop them from turning out to cast their votes next week.

“We also urge all members of the international community to keep faith with the Nigerian electoral process and to continue to support Nigeria in preserving what is, this year, twenty continuous years of democratic rule in Nigeria,” the statement read.

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