From the beginning, we have made a position clear that in terms of cost, the amendment to the Electoral Act is not cost effective. It is going to be much more expensive, especially in retrospect to our elections in the past if you look at the billions of naira that have been going into elections taking place in a span of two weeks. So, if we now start having elections in span of three weeks; that is going to cost us much.
The general election is something that can be done in a day if we are doing electronic voting. So, what is the rational for spreading it? The rational is simply political and we cannot be building democratic space on mere politicking. If their argument is about National Assembly election should start first, why can’t the National Assembly election hold with the presidential election the same day? So, there is actually no real rational for extending the days of the elections.
I think we should try to get our elections beyond the issue of sentiment. Voters should be able to vote without any kind of insinuation. The reason for the extension of the days of the election is not something that is base on empirical evidence. It is based on assumptions and it is purely politically. We cannot keep toying with the democratic space of the country on the basis of sentiments and politicking.
So, for us in the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), the proposal is unnecessary and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should have that opportunity to be able to determine the dates for election. If you look at where we are, what INEC has done is to give people enough notice to start preparing for elections.
So, what the National Assembly has done now is to put the country in a situation whereby they don’t know when election will hold. I think the plan to amend the election timetable is very undemocratic. So, TMG stands behind President on this matter.
And if there is a threat by the National Assembly to go ahead, Nigerian people should let them know that they cannot be toying with people’s lives. And I think we should ensure that the voices of the people prevail. I think it is absolutely unnecessary to amend the election timetable.