From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday accused the President Goodluck Jonathan led federal government of sponsoring promoters of postponement of the February election dates.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos, APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Jonathan administration has continued to pursue the plot to shift the elections. “That plot in itself is one of the two-pronged approach being pursued by the Administration to either shift or scuttle the elections, which are scheduled for Feb. 14th and 28th.
The other is the campaign for an Interim Government. It is important to state here that for the APC as a party, both options represent the Devil’s Alternative and are totally, absolutely unacceptable to us under any circumstance.”
Mohammed said any postponement of the election will mean that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not independent and that it is being dictated to by the federal government, saying such will hurt the credibility of the electoral umpire.
He insisted that any postponement on the basis of the insurgency in the North-east will represent a victory for the terrorist group Boko Haram, and will create a constitutional logjam that will take Nigeria back to 1993.
“When President Goodluck Jonathan met with US Secretary of State, John Kerry on Sunday here in Lagos, the President said he told the visiting US top diplomat that ‘’the May 29th handover date is sacrosanct’’.
“We say this is not reassuring enough, and that for us, the February 14th and 28th dates for the elections are as sacrosanct as the handover date of May 29th.
“Therefore, we are more assured by the call made by Mr. Kerry, that the elections should be held on time as scheduled. Nothing short of that will be acceptable to our party.
“We are also satisfied with the assurance by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it is ready for the elections. The electoral body has also said it will continue with PVC distribution until the eve of the elections. Therefore, the orchestrated campaign about INEC not being ready for the elections is sheer baloney!
“Now, make no mistakes about it, we are aware of the limitless capacity of the PDP and the Jonathan Administration for anti-democratic and desperate actions in pursuit of selfish motives that have nothing to do with the interest of the good people of Nigeria. We are aware of the clandestine moves, including reaching out to various interest groups and hiring talking heads to make the television rounds, being made by the Administration to get the elections shifted.”
According to the party, “If indeed the Jonathan Administration is genuinely concerned that many Nigerians have not received their PVCs, let it declare a three-day public holiday to give working Nigerians the opportunity to collect their PVCs. Let the government work with INEC to ensure that the PVCs are distributed at the polling units. If these steps are followed, within five days, the distribution would have been completed.”