By Ismaila Chafe
Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina state said the postponed elections will not affect the promise made by Katsina people to deliver three million votes for re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari on Feb. 23.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday shifted the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections to Feb. 23.
The governorship, house of assembly, FCT area council elections were also shifted from March 2 to March 9.
Masari told State House correspondents in Katsina that the postponement would not change the position of Katsina people, stressing that the APC Thursday’s rally had clearly indicated that the people would deliver on their three million votes for Buhari/Osinbajo ticket.
“Katsina people are ready; you saw it if you were here on Thursday (rally) you would know Katsina people are ready and prepared for these elections.
“The postponement will not change anything, it will not change the position of Katsina state.
“We were ready two days ago. I believe those of you who were in Katsina since on Wednesday or Thursday you would have seen that we were more than ready as far as the elections is concerned.’’
According to the governor, the postponement based on previous experience did not come as surprise to him.
Masari, who expressed serious concern over the postponement of the elections almost at the last hours by INEC, said “I hope INEC does not develop a culture of shifting dates of elections’’.
He maintained that it would be unfair for anybody or organization to shift the blame of the postponed elections on President Buhari, adding that INEC, an independent body should be held responsible for its action.
“But the fact on ground is that INEC gave assurance and the federal government has given INEC all the resources they required. So, the failure if there is any is their own.
“It has nothing to do or very little to do with the President except that being the President and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces whatever happens under the sun in Nigeria he becomes responsible but not liable.
“If you are looking for somebody who is liable, INEC is liable to convince Nigerians why it shifted the elections because all the political parties are going to suffer the consequences of INEC’s action.
“So, obviously there will be additional cost on the political parties and also on the government. So, the president cannot deliberately orchestrate this and knowing the kind of president Nigeria has now – he has not even interfered with departments that are directly under him let alone a commission that is independent based on the provision of the constitution.
“He is somebody who believes in the rule of law.’’
On security situation in the state, the governor disclosed that the state government in collaboration with relevant security agencies at both local and state level had succeeded in securing the state from criminals.
He commended the federal government for deploying more security personnel with additional tracking and other security gadgets to locate and apprehend kidnapers and bandits within and beyond the state.
“From the time I cried out to date, one – there has been reinforcement in the police, also the Department of State Services has sent in more tracking devices and more personnel and the military are operating, the air force is in the air always.
“I think there is improvement in terms of the level of security with regards to kidnapping, armed banditry.
“We were very much concerned because we were afraid that it would affect elections in some of the wards that are bordering the forest areas.
“But luckily enough with the combined operations of the local security under the local government system, the police; the Nigerian Civil Defence and the army, the situation has improved tremendously and we can now conduct elections in more than 95 per cent of those places that were being daily attacked, because most of the attacks were coming from the forest in Zamfara.
“They hit and go on motor bikes. So, really security, yes, is still a problem but not to the extent that it will disturb the issue of elections,’’ he said.