The Gender and Election Watch (GEW), an initiative of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to re-double efforts at protecting the integrity of the electoral process by upholding its regulations and relevant laws.
Reacting to the postponement of the shift in the general election dates, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NWTF, Mrs Mufuliat Fijabi, in a statement, urged INEC to be more proactive and perfect it’s systems.
INEC had shifted the elections a few hours to the opening of polling units.
The commission postponed the Presidential and National Assembly polls scheduled for Feb. 16 to Feb. 23, and the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections from March 2 to March 9.
The commission blamed the postponement on logistics challenges that could have affected the process negatively.
Fijabi noted that the postponement came despite expressed assurances by INEC on its readiness to conduct a free, fair and credible election.
She said that the commission should improve on its operations for the conduct of credible elections and reassure Nigerians of its preparedness.
She stressed the need for INEC to continue collaborations with security services to provide a safe environment for personnel, voters, election observers and election materials.
“INEC has to continue to dialogue with all relevant stakeholders during this period to ensure trust is maintained until the elections are held.
“All political parties should engage peacefully and constructively in the electoral process to ensure transparent, peaceful and credible elections.”
Fijabi said that the postponement could result to voter apathy, especially of eligible women willing to vote.
The CEO, however, urged Nigerians and women to see the postponement as part of Nigeria’s democratic evolution and still have faith in it.
Fijabi urged women to go out en masse and cast their votes on the new dates.
According to her, the overall social and economic implications of the postponement of the elections on a diverse range of stakeholders are enormous.