WADOO!!NEWS: Nothing will stop February polls—Jega
National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, (retd) came under verbal attack, yesterday, for his call on the Independent National Electoral Commission, to shit the conduct of the 2015 polls.
Former Defence Minister Musliu Obanikoro, former Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, spokesman of the House of Representatives were among the numerous Nigerians and bodies that condemned Dasuki’s call for election postponement. (See more stories on page 7)
As the attacks on Dasuki continued, the Chairman of the INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, on yesterday assured Nigerians that there was no going back on the conduct of the elections next month.
Jega told a stakeholders meeting in Abuja that the issue of permanent voter cards distribution had been laid to rest as those who were yet to get their cards had been directed to where they could do so before the end of the month.
Jega said if Nigerians who registered to vote fail to show up and collect their PVCs, there was nothing the commission could do to force them to go and collect their cards. While some Nigerians have genuine cases of their cards not being available there many whose cards are at the various centres for collection.
The chairman said that there was no need to postpone the election, whose timetable was issued about a year ago without any opposition from any of the parties.
Several groups and individuals rose swiftly to denounce the Presidential adviser for what they see as a callous, self-serving and a potentially dangerous move to abort the election and throw Nigeria into avoidable crisis that can tear the nation apart.
Dasuki, seen as the most powerful leader of President Jonathan’s think-tank, went offshore to the British Chatham House and made his damning advocacy that the polls be shifted since INEC had not been able to distribute all the cards it printed for the electorate.
Although INEC said it had distributed 68.8 million cards so far, Dasuki told the London audience that only 30 million PVCs had been made available to Nigerian voters. This was apparently to justify his call for the poll shift. It triggered off an immediate condemnation by Nigerians.
Kano-based politician, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, descried Dasuki’s call for the poll postponement as a ploy by President Jonathan to plunge Nigeria into chaos, having seen clearly that his opponent, Gen. Buhari, was poised to win the forthcoming election.
Mohammed warned Dasuki to jettison their thoughts and allow INEC to conduct the elections as planned, as neither Jonathan nor himself would be able to predict the fall-outs of the planned poll shift.
The former House of Representatives member noted that Dasuki had not been able to marshal out any good reason to justify the poll shift, asking why he waited till the last minute to make such a malevolent demand with only three weeks to the elections.
Kicking against Dasuki’s idea, the Muslims Rights Concern, a group that promotes the interest of Muslims in Nigeria, described the call by the NSA as diversionary and unpatriotic, smacking of moral debauchery.
The group in a statement by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said it was worrisome and suspicious for a senior officer working for one of the parties in the election to suggest to INEC the postponement of the election.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Movement, the political group linked to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, has thrown its weight behind the candidature of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in next month’s election.
The party at its National Executive Meeting in Abuja on Friday, noted that Buhari had what it takes to solve the myriad of challenges facing Nigeria as opposed to the current leadership of President Jonathan.
“In a communique jointly signed by its National Chairman, Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim and Secretary, Ifeanyi Igwe, PDM noted that it did not field a Presidential candidate for the poll, it was solidly behind Buhari in the poll.
The PDM said: “NEC observed that of the available presidential candidates, two clearly stand out and the two represent a clear contrast and reference point for making a clear and informed choice.
“On the five critical issues which NEC believes constitute the nation’s top and urgent priority at this material time, namely, National Unity, Public Security, Job Creation, Fight Against Corruption and the Economy, it is the opinion of NEC that the incumbent who has been at the helm of affairs of the nation in the past six years had failed.
“In contrast, his opponent had a track record of achievement in these areas as a former Head of State and, later, Executive Chairman of Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund. NEC believes it is time for Nigerians to give him a chance. In view of the foregoing, NEC unanimously resolved to support the candidature of General Muhammadu Buhari for President of Nigeria and called on all members and supporters of PDM across Nigeria to vote for him in the presidential election of February 14, 2015,” the party said.