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Published On: Fri, Jan 23rd, 2015

APC, Atiku oppose polls postponement

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Buhari vs AtikuFrom Ado Abubakar Musa, Jos, Umar Puma & Ahmed Abubakar

 NSA Sambo wants date shifted

 No going back on timelines – INEC

The call by the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, for the postponement of the February general elections received knocks yesterday with stiff oppositions coming from former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential Campaign Council among other stakeholders.

Atiku, a chieftain of the APC said that the general elections in the country should hold as scheduled next month, and that government must not tinker with the option of postponing the timelines for the elections.

“Yes, we have a problem with the distribution of PVCs but the position of my party, the APC is that since we have a voters’ register, then that should be used in conducting the elections. I also believe there is enough time between now and the elections to issue everyone with their PVCs,” Atiku said shortly on arrival to the country.

The former Vice President, who landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Thursday after a medical vacation trip, said the call made by the National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki, for a postponement of the elections as scheduled next month, was uncalled for and portends a dangerous signal about the intentions of the Federal Government to conduct a free, fair and credible poll in February.

Atiku was quoted to have said in the statement signed by his media office that he is “strong, healthy and happy” to be back to lend his support to the train of change sweeping across the country.

“The duty of participating in the process of change which our great party, the APC is committed to supersedes every other consideration. For me, participating in this campaign is a call to national duty.

“It is a duty which we cannot afford to compromise upon and we must press into the consciousness of those at the helms of affairs that it is morally dubious and socially unacceptable to extend the dates of the elections by a single day from the scheduled timelines,” the former Vice President said.

The APC Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO) also said yesterday that it is opposed to the plot by the ruling PDP to postpone next month’s general elections as is currently being canvassed by the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired).

In a statement signed Thursday in Abuja by its Director of Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the APC Campaign said such a proposal as being contemplated is ill-advised.

“We smelt the plot that this unpopular PDP Federal Government would do anything to stay put in power, elongation of term had always been on the President’s agenda; no wonder he and his party want the election delayed or cancelled outright to effect and extend their lackluster administration,” Shehu said.

“Gone were the days when a few persons can hold the destiny of our dear nation to ransom. In fact, Nigerians would have called for an early election than February, if our political system is parliamentary.” He added

Col.Dasuki had called on INEC to postpone the February 2015 general elections that is almost around the corner.

According to the Hausa Service of the BBC monitored in Jos, Dasuki said this yesterday in London when he was summoned to explain the current state of Nigerian security and the preparation of security to the upcoming general election in the country.

Dadsuki’s call for the adjournment of the general elections, according to the BBC, was on the basis that the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) which INEC has insisted to be used as a prerequisite to the elections were not significantly and adequately distributed to the electorates, adding that the adjournment would give INEC sufficient time to distribute the PVC to registered Nigerians,

According to him, from the information gathered, over thirty million people were yet to be given their PVC which he said would disenfranchise many Nigerians and at the same time would give room for unnecessary complaints and accusations to those whose candidates failed the elections.

Dasuki further argued that since INEC insisted that the PVC must be used, it would not be meaningful for the electoral body to conduct the elections with only half of the electorate participating in the polls, adding that since the Nigerian constitution stipulates that election can be conducted one month to swearing in, then INEC can work within the period of February to April.

Asked by the BBC on whether he had previously mentioned that suggestion to INEC, Dasuki said, ” yes I have once advised the electoral body to postpone the poll since PVC must be used. I also advised INEC that if the PVC is not workable then, the TVC should be used. Although INEC since then has not responded, but it is just an advice. “

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has however insisted that the election will hold as scheduled.

The Commission’s spokesperson, Kayode Idowu told SaharaReporters Thursday that INEC was not aware of Col. Dasuki’s suggestion, and that the elections will hold as scheduled.

The INEC has also reiterated that soldiers and other armed bearing security personnel would not be allowed at polling units during the forthcoming general elections.

Godwin Kwanga who is the state electoral commissioner made this known in Jos , the capital of Plateau state, explaining that soldiers and other armed bearing security personnel were expected to be stationed and seen where they can easily be contacted if there is need for it.

The Commission added that the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) which is going on in all the electoral wards in Nigeria will end on February 8.

Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC for Cross River State, Dr Okey Ezeani, made the disclosure on Thursday while interacting with members of the Inter Agency Advisory Committee on Voter Education (SICVEP).

Some news reports had suggested that Jonathan, PDP may be embarking on election extension campaign, bribe TV stations, newspapers houses to support plan Jonathan and the PDP have perfected plans to shift the February polls for another three months.

Sources believe that due to daily security reports received by President Jonathan that he may lose the forthcoming election woefully, the only option left is to shift the elections for three months in the first instance and for another three months in the second instance.

The security reports which are allegedly not favourable to Jonathan are daily getting worse for the President as the Buhari campaign rages on daily. “With what is on ground now, it is clear that Jonathan will lose to Buhari with a wide margin! This is why the PDP hawks came up with series of plans to stop the election and push for an interim government, ” a source is quoted as saying.

“The first of the plans is to hide under insurgency and the fact that Nigeria is at war to shift the elections. But INEC did not agree with this position as it told Nigerians about its readiness to conduct the elections,” the source was also quoted as saying.

 

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