The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has asked government to declare a two or three-day public holiday to enable workers travel to perform their civic responsibility in the face of imminent voter apathy as a result of the shift in the date of the general elections.
The Congress also asked Nigerians especially workers not to be disillusioned with the postponement of the elections, but go all out to cast their vote, saying the postponement of the election was a better evil than disenfranchising several millions of Nigerians.
President of the Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said in a statement that from evidence available, many people would have been able to cast their vote as a result of logistics problems if the election had been allowed to go ahead.
Wabba said: “We at the Nigerian Labour Congress join other Nigerians in expressing our shock at the last minute postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled to hold on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
“We share in the pains of those who in an uncommon show of patriotism, had to travel long distances to perform their civic duty. We similarly understand the outrage of those who had incurred huge and unquantifiable logistic costs. No explanation will be good enough given INEC’s repeated assurances and the zeal of Nigerians to cast their vote.
“However, given the fact that had the election taken place, a huge number of Nigerians would have been disenfranchised on account of gross and wide-spread logistic deficit, the postponement, as painful as it is, is a lesser evil of the two.
“In light of this, we enjoin all Nigerians to quickly put behind them this ugly incident and brace up for the rescheduled election next weekend. In spite of the huge costs to them, we call on all Nigerians to self-mobilise on the same scale that they did the previous weekend.
“Let them not be disillusioned or react to this postponement in a manner that will create voter-apathy. This will certainly be counterproductive and will in the long run work against the interests of the electorate.
“We call on institutions to be flexible with their staff to enable them travel in good time to perform this important civic duty even if it means government declaring a day or two public holiday to achieve this.
“As for INEC, we do hope they have learnt their lesson. On no account ever again, should they allow this to happen. All effort and expertise must be deployed by INEC to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. We appeal to all Nigerians to put this incident behind them and go out en mass to vote next weekend.”