Nigeria’s Council of States insists elections must go on as scheduled

The National Council of States meeting called to discuss issues about the the nation’s security challenges and the forthcoming elections has ended.

At the end of the eight-hour meeting, members insisted the general elections must proceed as scheduled, reporters were told.

Members also agreed that elections could be postponed in troubled zones — areas ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Nigerians, and indeed the international community, had watched out for the outcome of the meeting all day given the alleged plot by government to force INEC to shift the elections.

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State told reporters after the meeting that INEC assured the Council it was ready to conduct the elections and that the distribution of the permanent voter cards was going well.

Mr. Okorocha said the nation’s security chiefs also said they were ready for the elections but raised concern about the possibility of elections holding in areas under the control of Boko haram insurgents.

Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State however later told journalists that the council advised INEC to reflect over the concerns raised by members and the suggestion made by those who spoke in taking a decision that would allow for the conduct of smooth elections.

President Goodluck Jonathan presided over the meeting, where national issues bordering on the nation’s security and the elections were deliberated upon.

All former Presidents and Heads of State — Shehu Shagari, Yakubu Gowon, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Interim National Government President Ernest Shonekan — except Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, attended the meeting.

Other participants were Senate President, David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, and former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Musdafa Belgore.

Governors of Anambra, Kogi, Katsina, Kano, Osun, Imo, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Niger, Lagos, Bayelsa, Rivers, Kaduna, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo, Plateau, Cross River, Enugu and Delta states were also in attendance.

Also present were Governors of Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Jigawa, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, acting governor of Taraba while Abia, Oyo and Borno were represented by their deputy governors.

The National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), FCT Minister Bala Muhammed and the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation Mohammed Adoke also attended.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, [INEC], Attahiru Jega, and the nation’s security chiefs made presentation to the meeting, which started around 11.56 a.m. and ended after

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