Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, presidential candidate of the People’s Trust (PT), has written Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to seek a further extension of date for the presidential and the National Assembly elections rescheduled for Saturday, February 23, 2019.
In a letter obtained by SaharaReporters, Olawepo-Hashim said the one-week extension of the 2019 polls was “too short” for the electoral body to conclude the logistics requirements for the general election.
The letter read: “The candidates and the parties would now have to repeat logistics preparations that have hitherto been deployed to achieve the level of mobilization at the February 16 scheduled election.
“It is my considered opinion that in the haste to stick to a quickly announced date for the election, the Commission may not have paid adequate attention to the attendant voter apathy that may result if adequate confidence building measures are not implemented to win back ‘would-be’ voters for the next date of polling.
“As a result, and because a potential voter apathy in some sections of the country or all of the country may substantially affect the result of the election, a new date of election should be between three to four weeks from February 16, not one week from February 16 as previously announced.
“This is more so for self-funded candidates and political parties who do not have the possibilities or intentions of falling quickly on the state treasuries to refinance another logistic deployment.”
The letter copied the United Nations representatives, observer and civil society groups, the diplomatic community and the media.
He called on the Commission to “liaise with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), who should use their national networks to ensure mobilization of communities, social and interest groups to reach potential voters in order to avoid voter apathy at the next date of election”.