Friday, January 23, 2015 2:34 pm
The scheduled February general elections in Nigeria will go ahead as planned, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega has said.
It was the second major response by the electoral umpire to the suggestion by the National Security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel, that the polls be postponed because of the problems of distributing the permanent voters card to the voters.
Dasuki made the call in London Thursday in an interview with Reuters.
But speaking today, Jega said the INEC remains ready to go ahead with the elections as planned.
He spoke at the launch of Mitigation Of Violence In Elections (MOVE) project by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, IFES in Abuja today.
Profesor Jega said : “We have assured that the issue of concern, namely distribution of PVCs, will be addressed before elections; and the cards will be made for all registered voters. As evidenced in our preparations, we are ready to hold elections in February,” said the INEC Chairman.
He said over 40 million cards have been made available, while assuring that the remaining ones will be delivered before the end of January and attributed the delay to the late registration of eligible voters during the continuous voters registration, CVR, exercise.
INEC’s spokesman, Kayode Idowu also told P.M.NEWS today that INEC was working hard to make the PVCs available to all registered voters. He added that Colonel Sambo had not officially written to INEC suggesting a postponement.
The APC on its part also rejected the call by Dasuki.
In a statement in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the call by Col. Dasuki, during an event at the Chatham House in London on Thursday, has exposed the hitherto clandestine plot by the Jonathan Administration to push for the postponement of the polls, using all sorts of cheap tricks.
”Now that we have found the smoking gun, we are urging the international community, in particular, to urgently extract a commitment from President Goodluck Jonathan that the elections will hold as scheduled next month, and that he would respect the outcome, just as we have said,” it said.
APC said Col. Dasuki was only seeking to buy time for the slugging Jonathan electioneering campaign to gather steam by hinging his postponement call on the delay in PVC distribution, adding: “They know for sure that if they don’t postpone the elections, there is no way they can win. They are just terrified.”
The party also called on Nigerians to reject in its entirety the ongoing orchestrated plot by the Jonathan Administration to postpone the elections, saying the constitutional crisis that will be triggered by such postponement is capable of undermining the nation’s democracy.
”After realizing it will be rejected by Nigerians who have borne the brunt of its mis-governance over the years, after realizing that its campaign of calumny against our presidential candidate has failed, the Jonathan Administration has now started to play its last card, which is the postponement of the election,” it said.