National Vice Chairman, South-South, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Emmanuel Ogidi, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prioritise the safety of ad hoc staff deployed to strange areas for the elections.
Ogidi made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja while reacting to the postponement of the 2019 general elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had in the early hours of Saturday announced the shifting of the elections.
The commission said that it postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections from Saturday to Feb. 23, and moved the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections from March 2 to March 9.
The electoral umpire blamed the postponement on logistics challenges that could affect the process negatively.
“The most worrisome is the case of INEC ad hoc staff, majority of whom were National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, who had been deployed to strange areas.
“I appealed to INEC to ensure the safety and comfort of the ad hoc staff wherever they were deployed,” he said.
The chieftain urged Nigerians to remain calm in spite of the dissatisfaction over the re-scheduling of Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Ogidi said that Nigerians should be encouraged to come and vote on Saturday, the new date, to prevent any form of rigging.
The PDP stalwart described politics as a game of power which had to do with God and that politicians had to be careful in all that they did.
Inferring from the Bible, he said that power belonged to God and that promotion did not come from east or the west, the north or south but from God alone.
Ogidi said that many Nigerians had travelled to their villages to vote and had spent enormous resources doing so, while others had closed down businesses and livelihood.
“Yes, people are disappointed but my advice to Nigerians is that they should remain calm and prayerful.
“They should be encouraged to come again to vote; come out to vote so that we can unite Nigeria again and get Nigeria working again.
“If the electorate come out, there cannot be rigging but when you do not come out, they can manipulate the ballot box,” he said.
Ogidi said that the postponement was very disappointing and that it was a disgrace for the nation before the international community.
“How can INEC that on Wednesday promised that everything had been deployed and that everything was ready tell us at 2.30 a.m. that it had postponed the elections?
“It is obvious that something is manipulating the system; there is an unseen hand in this but the real unseen hand is the hand of God and He alone had allowed this to happen and we thank Him.
“Once there is life, there is hope; yes, we have spent money and resources and we can get it back someday, but once life is lost, you cannot get it back,” he said.
Counting losses, the chairman said that he was worried about those who had lost their lives, especially in Kaduna where 66 people were reportedly killed few hours to the earlier scheduled elections.
According to him, international observers have travelled down and have booked hotels, asking who is going to pay for that?
Ogidi said that people had shifted burials, wedding ceremonies, adding that students were back at home as schools had been shut down.