AFRICA/NIGERIA - Legislative, presidential and local elections postponed; Cardinal Okogie calls on voters to remain calm but laments authorities' decision

Monday, 4 April 2011

Lagos (Agenzia Fides) – The Nigerian authorities have postponed the legislative, presidential and local elections to 9, 16 and 26 April respectively. The legislative elections (for the Senate and the House of Representatives), were initially programmed for 2 April and then postponed til today, 4 April. Immediately after they had been postponed for the first time, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, Archbishop of Lagos, called on Nigerians to not show their disappointment by the Independent National Electoral Commission's (INEC) decision, based on logistical problems.
In their message, issued by the Archdiocese of Lagos, Card. Okogie issued an appeal to the President of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, that he should not place at risk the credibility and trust that Nigerians had placed in INEC.
Card. Okogie lamented the massive loss of time, resources and good will by postponing the elections and urged Nigerians to be patient. The Cardinal said that those who have placed their hands on the plough to create a new Nigeria, can not look back now. The Archbishop of Lagos praised the maturity of the INEC President in taking responsibility for the inadequacy of the electoral machine, but warned that his gesture will only have a positive effect if there is satisfactory and transparent management of the elections, besides doing his best to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, which could have serious consequences. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 4/4/2011)