The Department of State Services (DSS) has reportedly invited Okechukwu Ibeanu, a national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to explain his role in the postponement of the 2019 general elections.
Just hours to the commencement of the polls on February 16, 2019, the commission postponed the elections for an extra week due to logistical problems and claims of attempted sabotage.
The postponement was not well received by Nigerians, with some calling for the resignation of INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
According to a report by TheCable, the DSS has instead invited Ibeanu to answer questions over the postponement because of his role as the head of logistics. A source reported that Ibeanu has been invited to report to the agency’s Abuja headquarters at 2pm on Tuesday, February 19.
Even though Ibeanu was appointed chairman of INEC’s Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee in October 2018, the commission later set up an ad hoc committee for the 2019 elections in January, a committee headed by Ahmed Mu’azu, a retired air vice marshal.
Members of the ad hoc committee include Abubakar Nahuche, Mohammed Haruna, both INEC national commissioners, as well as the the Nigeria Police Force, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps and other relevant agencies including the DSS itself.
Others in the committee are the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, INEC’s Director of the Electoral Operations Department, INEC’s Director of Estate Works & Transport, INEC’s Director of Procurement, with INEC’s Director of Stores as member and secretary.
It’s unclear if the DSS will further invite Mu’azu and other commissioners to answer questions on the postponement before the rescheduled elections take place this weekend.
The development comes just a day after President Muhammadu Buhari slammed INEC for its incompetence and said the commission will explain reasons for its failure to the Nigerian people after the elections.
He said INEC had all the time and resources they required and didn’t have to wait for six hours to the polls to postpone it.
He said, “Definitely, the reasons why such incompetence manifests itself has to be explained to the nation.
“After the elections, we have to know exactly what happened and who’s responsible. Otherwise, our efforts to make sure this system we voluntarily accept is not making progress.
“What is the use if we accept incompetence? The constitution and the laws protected INEC but they must not take us for granted.”
The Presidential and National Assembly elections that were supposed to take place on February 16 will now take place on February 23, while the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections initially scheduled for March 2 have been moved to March 9.