Some lawyers in Lagos have expressed mixed reactions to Saturday’s postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the lawyers said the recent burning of some INEC offices and materials in some parts of the country could have contributed to the postponement.
Mr Ogedi Ogu, a Lagos-based legal practitioner said: “It would rather work against our democratic progression.
“Whatever reason INEC has cited for the postponement would not likely strengthen participation in the rescheduled date.
“Many voters traveled to their respective homes for the election. Such voters would be discouraged from further participating”.
According to Ogu, INEC had about four years to prepare for these elections and this should not be happening if they prepared well.
For Mr Chibuikem Opara, another legal practitioner, the recent burning and disruptions of INEC offices pointed to the fact that some people were bent on manipulating the system.
“In that situation, INEC may have done the best thing under the circumstances by postponing elections to ensure they conduct a credible election.
“Though, I think it is a disgrace that after so many months of planning INEC appears not to be ready.
“However, INEC must make sure they are no longer taken unawares”.
Another Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Chris Ayiyi, advised Nigerians not to make any statement to discredit INEC on the issue of postponement because of the recent happenings at the INEC offices.
He, however, said that the timing was wrong because some people had already travelled for the elections.
“To a large extend what the nation need now is a free, fair and credible election. There is always room to accommodate shortcomings, this is the beauty of democracy,” Ayiyi said.
Another legal practitioner and Coordinator, Girl Child Foundation, an NGO, Mrs Helen Ibeji, said what Nigerians should yearn for is a credible election.
“The postponement is not an issue so far there is a good reason behind it. What is most important is for INEC to conduct a free and fair election.
“We witnessed similar postponement in 2015, it is not the first time election is being postponed in Nigeria,” Ibeji said.