ABUJA – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has expressed disappointment with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the for shifting the date of the general elections.
INEC chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega on February 7 announced the postponement of the date of the presidential and NASS elections from February 14 to March 28.
The date for the governorship and state Assembly elections were shifted from February 28 to April 11.
The reaction of congress is contained in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson and made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.
Ozo-Eson said the shift in the date of the polls was against popular opinion.
He said: “We wish to register our disappointment about this development more so as it was hinged on insecurity.
“We take very seriously the issue of security of Nigeria and Nigerians and we will not for anything advocate for putting their lives and safety on the line
“However, neither Boko Haram nor the general elections were sprung on us.
“We knew about both all along and we ought to have had contingency plans.
“This is why we find as bogus the excuse of insecurity for postponing the elections.’’
Ozo-Eson urged the federal government to do all that was necessary to win and sustain the confidence of Nigerians and the international community on the issue of elections.
He said that sustaining the confidence of the people would enhance democratic rule.
He urged INEC to use the opportunity of the shift in the date of the polls to ensure that its preparations were full-proof including broadening the distribution of Permanent voter Cards (PVCs).
The NLC scribe urged Nigerians not to deterred, adding that they should remain committed in their resolve to participating in the elections.
“They (Nigerians) should make the necessary time to collect their PVCs, vote and defend their votes.
“They need not be reminded that they will have no reason to complain if they do not vote and defend their vote,’’ he said.
He said that in view of the difficulties faced by Nigerians in collecting their PVCs, the government should create an enabling environment including declaring public holidays to enable workers collect their cards.
He also urged INEC to make the process of collecting the PVCs less cumbersome.
“In our previous statement, we had made the point that the resort to subterfuge to gain electoral advantage was illegal and unhelpful to the growth of democratic culture and neither party should indulge in it.
“We find it necessary once again to sound this note of caution because Nigeria is bigger than any partisan interest, ‘’ he said.
Ozo-Eson warned that any further attempt to frustrate the process of the general elections by whatever means, through postponement or otherwise, would be resisted.