FG WON'T INTERFERE IN INEC AFFAIRS
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has said it would not interfere in the affairs of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) despite the lapses and uncertainties surrounding the postponement of last Saturday's National Assembly polls. It also said it was unaware of any plan to postpone the rescheduled National Assembly elections, by INEC.
The council, chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, reviewed the hicups and subsequent revelations that had outraged Nigerians and embarrassed the nation, but resolved to respect the autonomy of the electoral body.
Addressing State House correspondents, the Minister of Information and Communication, said INEC, chaired by Attahiru Jega, got all it requested for including enough finance and resources to carry out its assignment, hence it would be left alone to sort out the problems and complete its job.
'INEC is independent of the executive arm of government, because INEC is an ombudsman. We have done everything possible, especially under President Jonathan, to remove the last vestiges of any control of the federal executive on INEC.
'So, INEC is an independent body, with its own budget, with its own planning. It deploys its own resources. What we have done, especially since last year, is to make available to INEC, every requirement, every financial requirement that INEC has asked for the successful conduct of the general elections. 'Yes, there were several concerns last weekend over the elections that were subsequently postponed and the logistics and deployment in some places showed room for concern'.
Maku reiterated government's belief that following the rescheduling of the polls, INEC would deliver.. 'INEC is handling all those issues that were raised by observers, politicians and actors concerning the level of preparations that we saw last week.
'It is our hope and belief that, come this week, INEC will now have the opportunity of using the postponement to address all the issues, especially the question of having adequate vehicles to transport materials from distribution centers to polling centers, and back to collation centers. 'It is very important because if those logistics arrangements are inadequate, then they create room for individuals to go in and help, and that help indeed can tamper with the security of materials and the outcome of elections'. The Information and Communication Minister said FEC also implored all stakeholders, the media, the political class, and members of the public to support and pray for INEC while helping in monitoring and providing useful suggestions to surmount the problems.
Asked if the Council discussed INEC's plans to postpone the polls in some states, Maku said FEC did not delve into that and it had not been so informed by INEC. 'We also read those reports but the only authority that can take decisions in terms of the postponement of elections is INEC. 'And INEC has not informed the government and the public if there are some states where elections might not hold', he stated.