Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana SAN, has stated that the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) has no cogent motive to have postponed the elections initially scheduled for February 16.
Falana stated this in an announcement launched on Sunday.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) acknowledged that there are provisions for which an election might be postponed, however that the explanations acknowledged by INEC was not considered one of them.
INEC moved the overall elections to Saturday, February 23, about six hours to the beginning of the polls yesterday.
Not satisfied with the excuse tabled by INEC, Falana stated, “Any postponement of elections on account of logistical or operational causes can’t be justified below the Electoral Act or the Structure”.
He additionally accused the federal government and a few political events of taking part in a component within the postponement of the elections.
Under is the senior advocate’s full assertion:
“By advantage of part 26 of the Electoral Act, an election could also be postponed if a severe breach of peace or violence is prone to happen or on account of a pure catastrophe or different emergencies.
To forestall any abuse of energy the explanations for postponement of any election have to be cogent and verifiable.
Moreover, part 105 of the 1999 Structure of Nigeria offers that if the Federation is at conflict during which the territory of the nation is bodily concerned and the President considers that it isn’t practicable to carry elections the nationwide meeting might go a decision to postpone the election. And such postponement shall not be greater than six months at anyone time.
Due to this fact, any postponement of elections on account of logistical or operational causes can’t be justified below the Electoral Act or the Structure.
Since common elections had been postponed on two earlier events resulting from lack of sufficient preparations the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee should have prevented the shifting of the 2019 common election.
Despite the fact that all of the political events have blamed INEC for the postponement a few of them contributed to the nationwide disgrace and embarrassment.
Owing to the choice of political leaders to pick out and impose candidates on their events in utter violation of part 87 of the Electoral Act many aggrieved candidates rushed to court docket for authorized redress.
Consequently, not lower than 600 pre-election circumstances had been filed and are pending within the varied courts whereas not much less 40 orders have directed INEC to just accept the names of candidates who gained the primaries however had been shortchanged.
The resort to litigation because of the impunity of majority of political events contributed to the unwarranted delay within the preparations of INEC for the overall elections.
It’s attention-grabbing to notice that each APC and PDP have traded their normal blames over the postponement of the overall election by the INEC. However aside from INEC, each events should apologise to Nigerians for his or her deliberate refusal to implement the far-reaching suggestions of the Electoral Reforms Panels headed by Retired Justice Mohammed Uwais, Sheik Ahmed Lemu and Dr Ken Nnamani which had been arrange by the Yaradua, Jonathan and Buhari regimes respectively.
Every of the panels had really useful the unbundling of INEC for efficient efficiency. As an illustration, as INEC lacks the capability to prosecute electoral offenders an electoral offences fee/ tribunal was really useful for the enforcement of legal guidelines to handle all types of electoral offences and consequently stem the incidence of electoral violence.
Even the panels had really useful that the posts of the chairman and different members of the INEC be marketed as a way to make them unbiased of the Government. However in a bid to maintain the established order of electoral fraud these suggestions and others have been rejected by the PDP and APC-led Federal Authorities.
The shameful postponement of the 2019 common election wouldn’t have occurred if the Federal Authorities had unbundled the INEC and ensured the observe of inner democracy within the political events.
It’s public data that each APC and PDP haven’t dedicated themselves to electoral reforms. Therefore, they’ve conveniently forgotten that the late President Umoru Yaradua had admitted that the 2007 common election which produced his regime was extremely flawed.
For the reason that system will proceed to supply flawed elections all democratic forces ought to mount enough strain on the Federal Authorities to implement the suggestions of the aforesaid electoral reform panels, as soon as the 2019 rescheduled elections are concluded.
In the meantime, INEC which has shifted the overall election by 7 days is alleged to have turned spherical to ban political events and their candidates from additional campaigning for votes.
With respect, INEC has not paid consideration to Part 99 of the Electoral Act which offers that the interval of campaigning in public by political events shall finish 24 hours earlier than polling day. Since elections have been shifted the interval of the marketing campaign has additionally shifted and can finish 24 hours to the brand new polling day.
Due to this fact, the limitation of marketing campaign imposed by INEC must be reversed with none delay. Moreover, INEC ought to adjust to all legitimate and subsisting court docket orders with respect to the candidates sponsored by political events for the overall elections. In any other case, the courts might annul a few of the elections carried out by INEC on grounds of exclusion of certified candidates.”