Nigeria awaits Jega's final word on 14 February election

Nigeria awaits Jega's final word on 14 February election

Saturday, February 7, 2015 4:24 pm

•Professor Attahiru Jega, INEC boss: Nation awaits press conference

•Professor Attahiru Jega, INEC boss: Nation awaits press conference

Professor Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the under-pressure Independent National Electoral Commission held various meetings today, ahead of the expected press conference he is expected to address at 5 p.m today.

The first meeting was with representatives of 21 political parties, with 15 of them said to be canvassing for a shift in the election.

Sources close to the meeting said some of the party chiefs argued that the election should not go ahead because of security concerns raised by national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

PDM party chairman Bashir Yusuf said Dasuki had told INEC that operations against Boko Haram militants meant the military “will be unable to provide adequate security” for the February 14 vote.

“On the basis of that the national security advisor has requested INEC to consider rescheduling the elections for at least a period of six weeks,” the opposition lawmaker added.

The national secretary of President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Wale Oladipo, said they would “abide by any decision taken by INEC”.

But Yusuf said that some parties present at the meeting, including the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), were against any delay.

Professor Jega was locked in a meeting with resident electoral commissioners and civil society groups up till 4p.m today, to consider preparations for the polls scheduled to begin from 14 February.

As the meetings held, the social media and the news portals buzzed with speculations that the poll shift was already a done deal.

But INEC responded swiftly that it was yet to announce any shift.

INEC’s reaction came after Associated Press (AP) said Nigeria’s electoral commission will postpone February 14 presidential and legislative elections for six weeks to give a new multinational force time to secure northeastern areas under the sway of Boko Haram.

“INEC currently meeting with political parties, meeting with civil society organisations coming up shortly. #Nigeriadecides,” the electoral body wrote on its official Twitter page.

It was followed by another tweet: “INEC has not made any official announcement about Feb. 14th polls. Meetings still ongoing. #Nigeriadecides,” it said.

In an SMS message to TheNEWS, Kayode Idowu, chief press secretary to Professor Jega also said that the commission was yet to make any announcement. He dismissed all the news items making rounds as mere rumours.

INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega is expected to make an announcement by 5:00 p.m. (17:00 GMT) today.

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