Presidential Poll Now March 28, APC Described Postponement As Highly Provocative - Zinny's Blog




Presidential Poll Now March 28, APC Described Postponement As Highly Provocative

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Governorship and State Assembly Polls To Hold On April 11
  • Jega Says Security Chiefs Want 6 Weeks to Tackle Insurgency in North-East
  • This is a Coup Against Democracy - Constitutional Lawyer Okoye
  • Jonathan’s Men Hail Polls Shift
  • It’s Provocative, But... - APC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, last night announced new dates for the 2015 general elections, saying the national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) and states (Governorship and state Houses of Assembly) will hold on March 28 and April 11, 2015 respectively.
The Chairman of INEC said the decision to shift the polls was taken after consultations with political party leaders, the Civil Society Organisations, Professor Jega, who addressed journalists at the headquarters of the commission in Abuja, stated that the shift in election dates was decided as a result of an advisory by the country’s security chiefs, who claimed that the security situation in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Gombe States is such that the safety of voters, INEC personnel, election materials could not be guaranteed.
The security chiefs, according to INEC Chairman, have asked for six more weeks to battle insurgents in the North-East before elections could take place there.
The INEC Chairman added however that the elections must be conducted at least 30 days before the May 29, 2015 handing over date, hence the electoral body would not contemplate holding any elections after April 29, 2015.
According to Professor Jega, INEC is ready for the elections, and that the postponement was based on the issue of insecurity. He said, “the summary of my presentations before the National Security Council, is that for matters under the control of INEC, INEC is substantially ready for the elections as scheduled despite the challenges being encountered with some of its processes, like collection of the permanent voters cards by registered members of the public. In addition, INEC has been doing everything it can for the collection of the PVC by registered members of the public. As at February 5, 2015, the total number of PVCs collected was 45,839,808, representing 66.58% of the total numbers of registered voters.”
He added that the Commission’s level of preparedness is good enough for the country to go to the polls as scheduled on February 14 and 28. According to him, “Compared with 2011 when we conducted election within a short space of time, election that were adjudged free, fair and credible, and the best in Nigeria’s recent history, our processes today are better and more robust, and therefore capable of delivering a much better election. But as I mentioned earlier, there are some variables equally crucial for the successful conduct of elections, that are outside the control of INEC. One important variable is security for the elections.”
The INEC boss stated that as a result of the insecurity in the North-East, and based on the advice of the security chiefs, elections could not hold in the four states of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Gombe States, hence governors would not be returned. Again, he stated that if presidential election did not hold in those states, it would be considered inconclusive, because the constitution envisages that presidential polls should be conducted in all 36 states of the Federation before a president could be returned as winner.
He added that “when the security agencies advised otherwise, it would be unconscionable to call voters out inside that situation,” saying INEC was not forced to change the election dates.
While justifying the postponement of the election date, Professor Jega made reference to the provisions of the Electoral Act Section 26 (1) which says: “Where a date has been appointed for the holding of an election, and there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is liely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date or it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters of other emergencies, the commission may postpone the election and shall in respect of the area, or areas concerned, appoint another date for the holding of the postponed election, provided that such reason for the postponement is cogent and verifiable.”
Professor Jega said, contrary to calls from a section of the country for him to resign, he had not done anything untoward in the postponement of the polls, hence he didn’t contemplate resignation. He added that he has no deal with any section of the country on the elections, disclaiming an allegation that was made last week.
Jonathan Campaign Organisation welcomes polls shift
The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDPPCO) last night hailed the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to shift the scheduled February general elections.
A statement from the Director of Media and Publicity of the PDPPCO, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, said the decision was “in the best interest of deepening democracy and in the national interest”.
Chief Fani-Kayode stated in a swift response to the poll shift announcement that INEC “must be commended for showing the courage to shift the elections after acknowledging the fact that its state of preparedness was not 100 per cent.”
According to him, “Since this decision has been taken in the interest of deepening democracy and in national interest, we accept it in good faith and we commend INEC’s courage and obvious commitment to ensuring a free and fair election.
“With this decision, INEC has allayed the fears of many of our citizens that they may not have had the opportunity to vote for the candidates and parties of their choice on Election Day.
“We are constrained to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly condemn the opposition APC for its paranoid delusions and its far-fetched and childish conspiracy theories when it comes to the issue of poll shift.
“We believe that INEC must have drawn a useful guide from available security reports from the North-eastern zone where, despite the very serious challenges that our people are facing there from Boko Haram, we believe that elections must hold. We must insist on this in order to ensure that no parts of the country lose their right to freely, safely and peacefully participate in the coming elections and to vote for the candidates of their choice.
“The shift of date is a welcome development. It is solely the decision of INEC. The decision is not ours but we commend them (INEC) for showing courage by owning up to the fact that they are not ready to go ahead on February 14th. The shift will help INEC to organise themselves properly, to put their house in order and to put in place all the necessary arrangements for the polls. The shift will also enable the nation’s security agencies to do what they have to in order to secure the north-eastern zone and ensure that elections can hold there.
“In conclusion, we wish to encourage our supporters and we urge them to remain calm and to be patient. Our party is strong; our candidate is confident; our cause is just; our God is mighty and our victory is assured. No matter what happens and no matter how long it takes, we shall prevail. God bless Nigeria.”
Election shift “highly provocative” - APC
In reaction to the shift in the elections date, the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, issued a terse statement in which he described the postponement as provocative.
The statement reads thus, “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has decided to postpone the elections by six weeks on the strength of a letter by the security chiefs that they cannot provide security for the elections nationwide because of the commitment of its resources to fight insurgency in the north eastern part of the country.
“This is clearly a major setback for Nigerian democracy, and our Party is meeting in an emergency session to study its implications and will inform Nigerians of its decisions in the next few days.
“In the meantime, though what has happened is highly provocative, I strongly appeal to all Nigerians to remain calm and desist from violence and any activity which will compound this unfortunate development. We must not fall into this obvious trap. Change we must. They can only delay it; No one can stop it.
“I want to assure all Nigerians that the All Progressives Congress will not abandon its commitment to change and will sustain the struggle to establish a new Nigeria

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