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Election must hold Saturday –Akeredolu, as CAN urges electorate to come out enmasse

By Chris Chimezie & Mary Agidi
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Following the postponement of the February 16 general elections, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that necessary steps were taken to forestall any further delay of the polls next Saturday.

Also, lending his voice to the development, the Ondo State Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Revd John Ayo-Oladapo aligned with the position of Governor Akeredolu, urging the electorate not to be discouraged by the postponement.

It would be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had postponed the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for February 16, till February 23 due to logistic problems.

The electoral body also shifted the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections slated for March 2 to March 9.

Akeredolu, who spoke in Owo explained that the election was a national one which could not be staggered, but had to hold all over the country in one day.

According to him, INEC must have had several hours of meetings and deliberations, with good reasons for the postponement.

“When we reached out to them, we were told they had logistic problems. They were probably unable to get materials to their destinations.

“I’m sure they found out it was impossible to get the materials to their destinations and they had to postpone.

“The only thing anybody will worry about is why this late and why have they not taken enough steps.

“Let’s be fair to ourselves and INEC, they had problems. Some offices burnt and a number of things happened. This is all Nigerian problem, so all we have to do is wait a week,” he said.

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Akeredolu further enjoined Ondo State indigenes and others to be calm, bear the inconveniences and get prepared to troop out enmasse to exercise their civic responsibilities on Saturday, being the new date for the election

Rev. John Ayo-Oladapo in his reaction called on Nigerians to still come out enmasse and vote for candidates of their choice come February 23rd.

The CAN chairman, who expressed surprise and disappointment over the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, however enjoined the electorate not to be discouraged and go ahead to cast their votes peacefully.

Oladapo, while speaking with The Hope on telephone in reaction to the postponement few hours to the election period, said the level of preparedness of INEC, and its ability to deliver as expected, call for questioning.

He advised Nigerians to vote a leader that would see Nigeria as his constituency, and not be biased, tribalistic, or one-sided in decision making.

His words: “INEC was expected to have tidied up and see to these loopholes that caused their excuses.

“My advice for Nigerians is that they shouldn’t be discouraged or deterred, they should continue to pray for INEC, and be determined to ensure that we go out and vote again.

“The battle is not over until when it is over. It is when we have elected a new leader that we are successful as a nation or individuals. I want to encourage Nigerians to go out on Saturday and vote again and be peaceful in their reactions, we should not allow crisis or pandemonium of any kind.

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“We should be calm, and vote for candidates that would really deliver and move Nigeria to the next level”.

“A week is not so far. We will suffer a lot of inconveniences. We can say last Saturday was wasted, but have a weekend of rest,” he said.

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