Omoba Tunde Ajibulu is a member of the Logistics Directorate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he spoke on the postponement of the 2019 general elections by the Independent National Electorate Commission (INEC). Excerpts:
How did you receive the news of the sudden postponement of the 2019 general elections by INEC?
I was in total shock and disbelief. I refused to believe the rumours because the INEC chairman few days ago still said they were 100 percent ready for the elections. So, I was shocked to hear that they have postponed it by a week.
What implications do you think this postponement will have?
The ripple effect is on a massively horrendous scale. Let’s even forget the political parties; it is Nigerians that will suffer for this. Millions of Nigerians have travelled to their centres of registration to vote which is totally unnecessary because we should be able to vote anywhere we are located in the country as long as you hold valid PVC. What of people that have planned weddings, events, and different activities on the 23rd of February??It is really sad and i commiserate with all Nigerians. We do not deserve this at all.
Who do you think should be blamed for this, INEC, FG or National Assembly?
To me, the Federal Government has very little blame in this. As we all know, President Muhammadu Buhari is a leader who has absolute respect for the tenets of separation of powers and as such, he has refused to call the INEC chairman to discuss anything to do with the organisation of elections. He respects INEC as an independent body and as such will never meddle in their affairs. The National Assembly has to take the larger share of the blame because this is the real time effect vis-a-vis the delay in passing the INEC budget. Materials have to be specially ordered; after all, ballot papers are not shop bought. The rest of the blame lies squarely at the feet of the INEC chairman himself. Repeatedly he told us, when the rumour of postponement reared its head a couple of weeks back that they were hundred percent ready. If the chairman cannot be held to his words, then there is a major issue.
Some Nigerians are saying APC as the ruling party has a hand in the postponement. What is your take on this?
Absolutely not true. I believe the opposition PDP has more to do with it. Without a shadow of doubt, they were the ones peddling the rumours in the first instance. If I threaten to burn your house today and your house got burnt tomorrow, who do you think will be the number one suspect when the fire incident is being investigated?
Will this postponement affect the outcome of the election at the end of the day?
Definitely! This will also cause voter apathy, which will lead to a much more reduced turnout on February 23rd. But from the APC end, we sincerely hope there won’t be apathy from our camp. We will just use the time to galvanise our supporters, review our strategy. We were and are still poised to win and we were more than ready to vote today. APC members and well-wishers were ready. Today was our day and by God’s grace, tomorrow is ours too. No matter when the election is conducted, President Buhari will win.
Various pictures have surfaced of the inhuman conditions NYSC members who are being used as ad-hoc staff of INEC are subjected to. What is your take on that?
Deplorable, I must say. Again, this is a mere reflection as to why NYSC really needs to overhaul itself – from policies right down to living conditions. It isn’t just about ad-hoc staff, but the condition of the entire NYSC facilities. We need to appreciate that even if brand new facilities are provided, as long as the users have no respect for their host and the various facilities provided, then we will remain in that cycle of neglect.