The National Peace Committee (NPC), a non-governmental advocacy group, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has done so little to suppress the pain and disappointment felt by Nigerians following the postponement of the 2019 general elections.
The committee’s position was contained in a statement signed by Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former head of state and NPC Chairman; and Matthew Kukah, Convener NPC and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese.
Stating its observations of the polls shift in a statement entitled: “Nigerians: rise up and obey the nation’s call”, the NPC lamented that INEC took a decision just hours before the elections were slated to commence.
The statement noted that even though Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, has already addressed the political stakeholders involved, “very little has happened to assuage the deep feeling of embarrassment, pain and disappointment across the land.”
“The impact of this decision has permeated every stratum of our lives and has the potential to dampen the confidence of our people in the political process. It has further deepened anxieties within the international community about our country.
“There is enough blame to pass around. The real challenge now is for us as a nation to reach out to the deepest instincts of faith in God and our country. We must put everything aside and see this as a battle that all of us must win. The challenge is not who to sacrifice, but what sacrifice to make,” the statement read.
The NPC urged Nigerians not to be dampened by the disappointment INEC’s postponement of the elections last Saturday, rather ensure that they protect the country’s nascent democracy by coming out en masse to vote on the rescheduled date of the elections.
The statement read: “We understand your right to feel betrayed and humiliated by INEC. “However, we appeal to you all to see this as a watershed in the life of our fledgling democracy.
“The only way we can ensure a steady democracy is for us to learn the lessons from these sad developments.
“Therefore, we appeal to you not to count the cost of the setback, but respond to the call to patriotism. Do not relent, go out and fulfil your duty to your family and country on Election Day. We will soon turn the corner in hope. Rather than despair, rise up to defend our democracy.”
The NPC also asked for God to intervene in the country’s political situation and prevent the spread of violence.
The statement read: “We thank God for the gift of this great country. We know that our selfishness and greed have delayed our march to greatness. We commit our country to you at this very delicate and difficult time. Take control of all the relevant agencies in this election and let your will be done.
“We know that you are a perfect God and that in the end, may your will be done. We commit the future into your hands. Save us from further violence and bloodshed. Forgive our many sins. We believe that your time is the best for us.”