By Stephen Adeleye.
Residents of Kogi State on Saturday expressed mixed reactions over the postponement of 2019 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
NAN reports that the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu had, in the early hours on Saturday shifted the elections to till Feb. 23 and March 9 respectively, citing logistic and operational problems.
In his reaction, a lawyer, Barr. Joel Usman, told NAN that the postponement was aimed at frustrating voters by ensuring voter apathy.
According to Usman, most people who traveled for the election may not be able to stay back till next weekend nor return back to vote after traveling.
“A week interval is too short for voters whose place of residence is not the same as the place they registered for voting.
“I personally feel the postponement is also to pave way for APC candidates in Zamfara and River states to be accommodated.
“Academic calendar for students especially for primary and secondary schools is being messed. It is to say the least shameful.
“It is wasteful considering all that had been spent on logistics and security,” Usman said.
Mr Samuel Adeyefa, a banker, expressed his displeasure over the postponement, saying, ”it is in a bid to frustrate and disenfranchise the citizens so as to carry out their cruel deeds.
“It is like waiting for the keeper to go for the ball by a fall before playing penalty, giving the penalty taker a good assessment and vantage point.
“We should have known or thought of this. God pass them all,” Adeyefa said.
However, Pastor Liberty Igwe, told NAN that he was in support of the postponement due to the allegations of sabotage of INEC materials in some states.
He cited as reasons for his position the stealing and vandalization of election materials in as much as 10 states, as well as the legal issues surrounding the participation of one of the parties in Zamfara.
“The alleged infiltration of security organisations by political thugs, and alleged influx of aliens into the country; this postponement will avail INEC the opportunity to take care of all associated issues.
“However, the pain this disruption has caused in the socio-economic life of citizens cannot be overlooked.
“The bleeding national treasury will now experience hemorrhage. Also, political parties that have mobilized their agents will have to spend double.
“CSOs and internal election observers will also partake of the negative consequences of a dysfunctional system.
“If the Government in power were sincere in conducting a free and fair election, this wouldn’t have happened,” Igwe said.