INEC Denies Election Postponement Claims

Oluwaseye Ogunsanya 

Claim

A writeup claimed that the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said the commission may postpone the February 25th presidential election by a week or two. 

Verdict 

False! INEC has no intention of postponing the 2023 General Election. 

Full Text 

A write up claimed that the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu said the commission may postpone the February 25th presidential election by a week or 2.

According to the write up, the INEC boss was quoted to have told reporters on Monday morning at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja shortly after his arrival from Lagos that “INEC may shift the February 25th presidential election to March 4, 2023 due to the scarcity of cash as a result of the new CBN policy limiting daily withdrawal and availability of the newly redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes.”

The write up also went on to add that the INEC boss and some high profile staff of the commission paid the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele a working visit where they were told that “the CBN is doing everything within its capacity to ensure that the new Naira notes are made available for Nigerians ahead of the February 25 and March 9 elections.”

It concluded that the INEC boss said Nigerians would be informed of any changes made in the election date while stressing that “the cash scarcity is a major hindrance which pose a huge threat to the February 25 and March 9 elections”

Verification 

In a bid to verify the claim in the write up which origin is unknown, FactCheckElections found out a similar report by Daily Independent on February 1 with the headline “INEC May Postpone Presidential Election By Two Weeks” 

The report claimed that there were feelers on elec­toral commission may shift the February 25 presidential election by a minimum of two weeks due to logistics issues.

It added that some of the issues posing a threat to the commission are the incessant burning of INEC offic­es across the country and the insecu­rity challenges in the South-East and North-East.

Quoting a Senior official of the commis­sion, the newspaper said while the electoral body is deter­mined to stick to the scheduled date, recent developments in the country may force it to announce an extension.

“The commission is doing all it can to stick to the announced dates but given the numerous challenges being witnessed across the country, such as burning of our offices, insecurity challenges and attack on INEC offi­cials, lingering fuel scarcity coupled with problems arising from the naira redesign, I won’t be surprised if the election is postponed by two weeks minimum”, the official said.

Although the newspaper also contacted the Com­missioner for Information and Voter Education of INEC, Fes­tus Okoye and Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman to ascertain the veracity of the postponement claim. Both individuals said there are no plans to shift the elections.

Details of INEC Boss Meeting With Emefiele

Amid concerns over the current naira scarcity and how it might affect the 2023 general election if not managed, INEC boss, Mahmood Yakubu met with his CBN counterpart, Godwin Emefiele last Tuesday.

Yakubu said service providers would be needed for the forthcoming election and need to be paid fully or partly, adding that there were fears about the withdraw limits.

The INEC boss said: “In view of the recent policy involving the redesign of some denominations of our national currency, and the limits placed on cash withdrawals and availability, we consider this meeting important in addressing some of the areas of concern with just 17 days to the 2023 general election. We are confident that arising from this meeting, we can assuage the anxiety expressed by some of our service providers. We’re determined to make the 2023 general election one of the best organised elections in Nigeria but we cannot do it alone.”

In his response Emefiele said the CBN remains committed to supporting INEC towards ensuring credible polls and it will not allow itself either to be used or to be seen as an agent that frustrated positive outcome of the election.

“Just a few months ago, I visited your office and you raised the issue of how foreign exchange can be procured for you to import other forms of election materials that needed to be imported,” he said.

“And I gave you my word that foreign exchange will be provided for that purpose. I sit here to confirm that as at today, not one dollar is owed. All dollars needed to procure those materials have been provided.

“Now, this issue of paying logistics for people who are going to be transporting election materials to wards, certainly I give it to you that because we regard the INEC project as an urgent national assignment, it cannot fail.”

Yakubu Spoke to Reporters at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on New CBN Policy 

We also checked the claim that Mahmood Yakubu spoke to reporters at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on the possibility of INEC shifting the presidential election due to the scarcity of cash.

Our findings show that there was no time Yakubu spoke to reporters at the airport on the CBN policy. However as far as the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport is concerned, there were media reports on INEC’s Chairman, National Commissioners and senior officials taking delivery of the commission’s last consignment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines on the 3rd of January at the airport. 

Gubernatorial/House of Assembly Elections Date Mistaken 

FactCheckElections also found out that the write up contains mistake in the date of the Gubernatorial/House of Assembly elections. 

In the first paragraph, the write up claimed that the presidential election “may be shifted from February 25th to March 4” while in the third and fifth paragraphs, it replaced the March 11th Gubernatorial/House of Assembly elections with March 9th.

It is important to note that elections in Nigeria are usually scheduled to hold on Saturdays (weekends) and not weekdays as claimed in the writeup.

INEC Not Cosidering Election Postponement

The electoral umpire has denied the claims that the forthcoming elections may be postponed.

Reacting to the claim, Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman told TheCable that the claims are false.

“It is not true. INEC will not, and is not even contemplating postponing the 2023 general election,” he said.

“To be sure, the presidential/national assembly election will take place on 25th February, while the governorship/state assembly election will hold on 11th March 2023.”

The commission denied the claim on Monday in a tweet on its official Twitter page.

“FAKE NEWS ALERT. Our attention has been drawn to a fake report circulating on the social media with the title: “INEC May Postpone Feb 25 Election by a week or two”

“The Commission will not and is not contemplating postponing the 2023 General Election. Nigerians should disregard it” 

 

Conclusion

INEC has no intention of postponing the 2023 General Election. 

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