By Onome Oghenetega
The Delta State Online Publishers Forum (DOPF) says the Independent National Electoral Commission was bound to fail in the elections slated for last Saturday but was later postponed by the commission for logistics reasons owing to obvious poor preparations.
DOPF also blasted INEC for keeping several of its activities including accreditation of observers particularly journalists and sensitization campaigns in secrecy.
The forum said it knew that the electoral umpire was not ready for the elections even before the postponement was announced by the commission’s chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Saturday morning.
In a statement on Sunday signed by its chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Enebeli, the online publishers noted that INEC should be blamed for the shame the postponement had brought to the country among comity of nations.
Enebeli posited that days before postponement there were signs that the electoral umpire was not ready for the election, and berated it for denying many frontline journalists in the state accreditation to monitor the exercise.
According to the group, “The signs were clearly seen in the lack of voters’ education on the fingers to be used for printing on the ballot papers as there was total confusion among the electorate, and the parties were not properly briefed.
“INEC also failed in the registration of observers, more so media accreditation was shrouded in secrecy, as some states were given priority attention than others.
“The late accreditation of journalists to cover the elections, and the ultimate deprivation of main stream media practitioners from carrying out their legitimate duty to inform the world as events unfolds during the elections were all signs that INEC was heading for failure as all the unwritten dramas was an attempt by the commission to cover its weaknesses.”
The statement, however, urged Nigerians to remain calm and resolute in spite of the inconveniences the postponement had cost them in face of the present economic situation in the country.
“While we sympathize with Nigerians on the negative impact of the postponement, we call on INEC to use this one week to reexamine and correct the problem with media accreditation in the country.
“This is necessary, as lack of accreditation of journalists could lead to yellow journalism, where reporters may resort to second hand information to file their reports”, the statement added.
“We therefore task the electoral umpire to do the needful. Use this period to get more journalists to cover the event. This will be good for your image and the nation. “