Editorial

Forget the Poll Shift

National Security Adviser, rtd. Col. Sambo Dasuki has called for the deferment of next month’s general election by three months. His reason for this call is to give the INEC enough time to distribute the permanent voters’ cards.

The call was promptly opposed by APC, the minority party, INEC and the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar who should be more worried about the poor distribution of the PVCs as it affects their stakes in the polls. For his, they should have supported the call. But they didn’t.

The surprise about this call is the way and from whom it came. A delicate and weighty issue like the postponement of the polls cannot be suggested by the NSA in far away London. Even if a poll shift is contemplated as a national security issue, Dasuki was not the person to fly the kite. It is a normal spokesperson for the majority party or the federal government who should come up with the suggestion, giving the impression that the PDP and the Government have duely considered it and agreed upon it. If this has not been done, how does Dasuki stand if and when perhaps the presidency comes up to disown the idea, which they are expected/likely to do?

Neither the presidency, nor the PDP has commented on the wonderful idea. This makes it difficult to know whether what he said was his (Dasuki’s) personal idea or that of the PDP. While Dasuki’s is an intemperate statement, FG’s and PDP’s silence will mean consent. Both are undeniably very dangerous to the integrity of the electoral process, the government and the country.

Putting off the polls is an ominous sign which will have a jarring effect, everywhere. It will suggest many things (even if they may not be the case) – bad faith, the intention to rig, inconsistency and incoherence, ambivalence, interference and influence on the INEC, coming from the PDP and the government. If the minority party that is in serious and desperate contest for the presidency latched on to this to cause trouble, the ruling party will be blamed and held responsible for it.

All this is as a result of INEC’s failure in distributing the voter’s cards, which we fear its consequences will still come. The remedy is hardly in the shifting of the polls. The palpable solution lies in all hands being on deck to still get the PVCs distributed within the short time left, including the day of polling. In every polling centre, there should be a PVC collection table. Rather than shift the polls and cause the shaking of public confidence and perhaps violent reactions, which it will be, the pleasure of the opposition to have an excuse for, the fight to distribute the PVCs should be a fight to the bitterest end.

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