National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole has said he has refused to forgive the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the postponement of the 2019 general elections.
Oshiomhole said this, yesterday, while responding to INEC’s National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, who had said during his presentation at an Electoral Reform Roundtable, that as at 5pm of Friday, February 15, INEC leadership were still optimistic on being able to pull through with the election on February 16, hence the delayed announcement of the postponement.
INEC announced the postponement of the elections few hours from the commencement of the presidential polls initially slated for February 16; an announcement that generated widespread criticism for the commission.
Oshiomhole, at the time, had been one of the most vocal critics of the electoral body over the decision. But four months later, the former Edo State governor has remained embittered with the commission.
“As at 5pm on Friday (February 15), some of the materials you (referring to INEC’s National Commissioner, Festus Okoye) needed were still at the airports. How could you have assumed that by some native doctor’s magical something (you could pull it through).
“Obviously you knew it was not in your competence to increase the day beyond 24 hours. So, obviously you knew and you cannot be pardoned for that. And I refuse to forgive you on that because you knew it and you made us incur costs that were avoidable and you subjected us to severe shocks.
“I don’t think you can defend that. It was gross, inexcusable negligence of duty and crass incompetence on the part of INEC. There is no need to wish it away,” he said.
He, however, added that as former INEC chairman Professor Attahiru Jega said earlier, the postponement was still better than the commission giving the country an electoral process that couldn’t deliver success.
He said forgiving INEC would only be because he could not do anything about past events.