Chairman, Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Senator Abubakar Kyari, has said the last minute shifting of the Edo Governorship election to September 28, will not affect the expected outcome of the poll.
Kyari was reacting to accusation made by the PDP that the postponement of the poll was aimed at manipulating the outcome by the ruling APC.
He told newsmen in Maiduguri on Wednesday that the postponement was inevitable.
“Up till Wednesday, INEC was ready for the election because I spoke with INEC chairman who was already in Benin and he said there was no going back.
“He (chairman) said that INEC can only shift the election if there was strong and tangible reasons for that,” Kyari said.
He added that the commission was forced to shift the election after seeing some evidence from security agents.
“But unfortunately, the reasons given by the police and the State Security Service (SSS) were so strong that within a short while INEC began to see some semblance of planned attack.
“So INEC had to cave in and postpone the polls, I remember that even the police had made arrangement to mobilize 23, 000 personnel for the polls before the last minutes shift,” Kyari said.
The senator noted that it was sad that some politicians were accusing the government of collaborating with INEC to shift the polls for political gains.
“The election was postponed due to the security situation and not because of any political reason. I do not think it was because the APC could not win.
“Like I said, the postponement cannot affect the outcome or give advantage to the ruling APC as being alleged by in media reports,” he said.
Kyari recalled that the 2015 elections were postponed and the outcome was not affected.
“You will remember that even last year’s elections were postponed by weeks and the outcome was not affected.
“Whatever you do in election matter, it will not affect the outcome because the people have already made up their minds,” he said.
The INEC committee chairman, who represents Borno North in the National Assembly, also defended the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on the prevalence of inconclusive elections.
“Yakubu is a man of integrity and a first class technocrat, so the issue of inconclusive elections is not peculiar to him.
“Even in 2011 there were inconclusive elections, we just forget so soon; last year elections in Imo State were inconclusive and that was when Prof. Mahmud Jega was INEC chairman,” he said.
Kyari said that attention was being focused on inconclusive elections now because they were hapening in bye-elections rather that during general polls.
He attributed the reason for rising cases of inconclusive elections across the country on the desperation by politicians to win at all cost.
“We now have two strong parties; the APC and the PDP who are almost at par in terms of strength.
“Some politicians are now desperate, sometimes employing violence to disrupt elections leading to inconclusiveness.
“INEC has no choice but to declare election inconclusive once election materials are hijacked and elections disrupted on a large scale.
“Of course this has to do with election guidelines which must be adhered to by INEC,” he said.
The senator also defended INEC decision to declare elections inconclusive rather than declare one of the candidates’ winner in an election marred by violence.
“INEC cannot disregard election guidelines and declare wrong candidate winner of an inconclusive election because it had a reputation to protect.
“INEC reputation will be a subject of ridicule once the other candidates go to court to seek redress,” Kyari said.