The power to shift election dates is the exclusive right of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) so emphasized the National Chairman of New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP) Dr Boniface Aniebonam.
This came against the backdrop of the clamour in some quarters to shift the presidential elections scheduled to hold on the 14th of February 2015.
Some of these people have threatened to use strikes, protests, demonstrations and even implied force to pressure INEC to shift the election to a later date.
But Aniebonam has come out to say that shifting of elections is the legal right of only INEC when it deems it not just fit but absolutely necessary.
According to him “Both the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act make it very clear that the powers to regulate all activities relating to elections is the exclusive preserve of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC). These powers include fixing the date of election and suspending election in any region or state for security and/or natural hazard”.
He however advised INEC to exercise caution in the administration of these powers keeping the masses in mind as democracy is all about the people.
“These powers must be exercised with caution and utmost responsibility. The ingredient of a successful elections as well as democracy In general is all about the people. For this reason, NNPP believes that the people should be at the center of every consideration in any election”.
He further stated that as a result of the power vested on INEC by the people, it behooved on INEC to grant every Nigerian who is of voting age the opportunity to exercise his or her franchise by ensuring that all preparations and logistics towards making the elections not just free and fair but credible are duly put in place.
Aniebonam added that according to INEC, all the permanent voters’ Card (PVC) of those who registered had been produced and disbursed to various outlets, therefore he urged Nigerians to go and collect their PVCs pending February 14.
He later advised INEC to take measured steps to address any critical lapse that would jeopardize the success of the elections, as such should consider the advice and suggestions of the Council of State, National Security Adviser, and the Presidency before taking any critical step about the election.
He enjoined Nigerians to give their maximum support to INEC and conduct themselves in manners that would further the cause of the country especially for posterity sake.