Nigerians need to be apologised to, says Former Delta speaker

Former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Victor Ochei has said that independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), should properly apologise to Nigerians over the postponement of the 2019 general elections.

“It’s embarrassing for this country that the electoral body after being asked only a few days ago if it was ready for the election. And it said yes. I find it embarrassing that you’re coming a few hours to the election to ask for a postponement,” Hon Ochei told The Guardian on Monday.

“I think Nigerians need to be apologised to. Though not in the manner and the way (the INEC) chairman has presented it and made to look like a trivial thing that should happen.”

INEC announced the postponement of the elections earlier scheduled for February 16 few hours before Nigerians were to head to polls.

Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, announced the postponement at around 2:30 am during a briefing. Yakubu prior to postponement had boasted that INEC was ready for the polls while insisting there was no need for postponement like two of the previous elections.

But in the early hours of Saturday, he said the elections have been postponed due to logistical issues. He has been accused of not properly apologising to the electorate for the embarrassment and the distress caused.

Although in a stakeholders meeting he insisted he apologised to Nigerians in the briefing where he announced the postponement.

The cost of the election has been widely discussed with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry stating that Nigeria lost not less than $1.5billion for the postponement. SBM Intelligence estimated Nigeria’s loss to $2.23 billion which is 0.531% of the country’s GDP.

Hon Ochei said the losses due to the postponement of the election was huge and irrecoverable. He noted that apologies are not enough to offset the effects of the postponement.

“Because the enormous resources both in human and capital resources that have been put out there to ensure the success of this election cannot be overemphasised and you cannot retrieve that capital back. So what do you do when you have all of that? How do you recompense for that?

“The word sorry is not enough for the enormity of what that action, postponement, means? Other than that it has happened the only thing you can do is to accept it because it is an independent body.”

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