The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled the conduct of presidential and governorship elections in the country for February 16 and March 2, 2019.
The INEC timetable is in the public domain and has been released to the 91 political parties including candidates and stakeholders.
However, there are plots by INEC to postpone the elections by two weeks to accommodate what an insider in INEC called “logistics problems,” Straightnews has gathered.
“The presidential/National Assembly elections expected to hold on February 16 may be postponed to March 2 and the governorship/state House of Assembly slated for March 2 may be shifted to March 16,” an insider in INEC office confided in Straightnews.
Some political analysts believe that “The postponement may lead to frustration among candidates as it will overstretch their finances and cause apathy among intending voters.”
Others think that “The postponement will signpost victory for some candidates who will win the sympathy of the voters and failure to other candidates who will lose the support of voters.”
An insider predicted, “It is expected that in Akwa Ibom State, many interested camps plotting the re-deployment of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini may have to wait for a long time as the man whose reputation overwhelms mischief makers may be allowed to stay put to conclude the 2019 elections in Akwa Ibom State. He is also a person who commands respect among international community in the conduct of elections.”
“In some quarters, he is seen as the most experienced of the RECs in the country as posting him to Bayelsa would be a waste of expertise considering the fact that the state has eight local government areas. Rivers could be his destination but neither Rotimi Amaechi camp nor Nyesom Wike camp will welcome him as each is poised to take the state by hook or crook.”
“It can be recalled that having previously served in Edo, Cross River and now in Akwa Ibom, Igini, an indigene of Delta State could possibly be redeployed to either Rivers or Bayelsa, yet the options are now foreclosed,” the source concluded.
Don Etukudo, the INEC Public Affairs Officer in the state in a telephone interview with Straightnews said he was not aware of plans by the commission at the national or state level to postpone the elections.
Meanwhile, Mr Stuart Symington, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, has pledged the readiness of his office to assist security agencies in the state in monitoring the forthcoming general elections.
Symington stated this Thursday when he paid Mr. Musa Kimo, the state Commissioner of Police a courstey visit in his office.
While commending the police boss on the peaceful nature of the State and the successes so far recorded in fighting criminality, the Ambassador sued for peaceful, free, fair and transparent 2019 general elections in the state.
Kimo thanked and assured the US Ambassador of the Command’s commitment to ensuring free, fair and credible polls.
He said the police will be apolitical, neutral and create a balanced enabling environment for all political players.
The commissioner of police said the police under his watch would be professional at all times in dealing with members of the public, pledging to make security in the State a priority.
Already, Akwa Ibom regarded as one of the flashpoints in the country needs more protection to forstall breakdown of law and order.
Security experts see the ambassador’s visit might not unconnected with the high premium United States government places on Akwa Ibom State being the host of ExxonMobil, a major US investment and possibly to protect such against damage.
It is predicted that US government will not fold its hands to see the destruction of its investments probably by crisis hence the need for US to rise up early to check infractions.
Recall that the crisis that rocked the state when five sacked members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly stormed the house and assault by the state government to dislodge the “dissidents.”
At the moment, All Progressives Congress, APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP memners and supporters are daily locked in online rants, verbal invectives and drumbeats of war in event of riggings during or after the forthcoming elections.