INEC said elections will not be held in states under emergency rule.
The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday reacted to the declaration made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that elections would be suspended in the state if the state of emergency persists.
Mr. Shettima said should elections not be conducted in Borno in 2015, it would mean the federal government has succumbed to the Boko Haram.
INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, had on Monday told federal lawmakers that the commission would not hold elections in any state under emergency rule in the country. The states currently under emergency rule are Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe.
The Borno governor reacted by to Mr. Jega via a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Isa Gusau.
“2015 is very far away for all mortals, only God, our creator knows who will get to 2015 and in what state of health. It is also Allah that gives power to anyone He wills at the time He will and how He will.
“The INEC Chairman, a man associated with honour integrity, an erudite and respected scholar, Professor Attahiru to me, has not committed any sin by his proposal,” the governor said.
“I commend Professor Jega for INEC’s early preparations. I also think he is being sincere because if he had an ulterior motive he wouldn’t reveal the issue now, he could have waited till when Allah spares our lives in 2015 and he would announce the exclusion of the states by which time, politics could be intense and every segment would be dealing with its own political issues.”
Mr. Shettima said INEC had not foreclosed the possibility of holding elections in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa; and cautioned against not holding elections.
“Suspending national election such as the 2015 in any part of the 36 States and the FCT on account of Boko Haram activities would amount to making the insurgents supreme over the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it will be defeatist on our part as a nation,” the governor said.
“The goal of Boko Haram is to impose their beliefs on us, subvert our constitution and our democracy and replace them with inhuman laws that support killings and destructions; and should we suspend any part of the country whether in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa or any place at all from taking part in the 2015 election, the insurgents would be presuppose successes on their part and itching close to achieving their goals and we cannot allow that.”
The Borno governor said there was need for everyone to work together to defeat the insurgents.
“I expect that as a strategy, Borno and Yobe and indeed any place so affected by the insurgents, should be the main focus for conduct of the 2015 elections by the INEC so that we send a clear message to those who want us to go into extinction that we will not cave in to their violent needs, we will move on. This is why, governance hasn’t for one day, stopped in Borno State,” he said.
“With Allah’s help made through the sacrifices, rooted support and prayers of our citizens, we have continued to rebuild and reinvent our very dear State. We would have been stagnant if we caved in to threats and by that, denied our citizens their rights to infrastructures and welfare services needed to improve their standards of living. I am very much aware of our constitutional and moral obligations to secure the lives and property of our citizens as a primary duty. We are working round the clock to live to that obligation no matter the circumstance and we will remain focused and committed.
“I am eternally optimistic, without being blind to realities and challenges that with our determination, insha Allah Borno will be very stable sooner than later and pray it will be so across the country but even if need be, there could a special date for elections in these affected States such that there can be massive security deployment to man everywhere to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections, by that we will triumph over evil. But suspending the elections even in a polling unit mainly on account of Boko Haram will be a setback in the fight against terror, it will not be good for us as a country and it is bad for our reputation abroad.
“I must say that our security men have done marvelously well, they are our heroes like our youths are even for their honour, we should remain firm as a resilient nation; suspending the 2015 elections in Borno will make mockery of the sacrifices made by those who laid their lives to defend our constitutional democracy; we will be insulting their memories that we should preserve.
“I, like all good citizens of Borno, firmly believe in a creed, that we must with courage, say no to those who desire our destruction, Borno is our land, we will flourish in it, no matter how tough and this has to be the national spirit. I therefore call on the Federal Government all stakeholders in the country and friends of Nigeria to look at the issue with analytical mindset far beyond what reasons we might be talking about now.”
The Borno governor also warned that should elections not be held in states under emergency rule, it could strengthen the insurgents to perpetrate violence in other states.
“If Boko Haram is able to stop elections in three States, they might in no time, simply target additional States and gradually, they might stop elections in Nigeria; we can’t allow that,” he said.
“More than the constitutional crisis the decision may plunge the country along with deepening political suspicions, the implication of suspending elections on account of insurgency will be grave, it would show supremacy of evil over good. It would strengthen insurgent and give them basis to foresee the ultimate victory they violently seek.
“Moreover, Borno is safer today compared to the time we held elections in 2011 and insha Allah, peace will continue to grow and Borno will bounce back as the home of peace that it was known for since Nigeria became independent. I pray Allah grants us peace, stability and prosperity in Borno and all parts of Nigeria and I pray that we will have a smooth, credible and peaceful transition in 2015 Insha Allah.”
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