President Goodluck Jonathan’s National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has called for the February 2015 election to be postponed to allow more time for the distribution of voter cards, a call that has drawn a forceful rejection by the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
Mr. Dasuki made the call Thursday in London, UK. He said the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, needs more time to ensure all qualified Nigerians receive cards for the vote.
The NSA said he told the chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega, that a postponement within the three months allowed by the Electoral Act would be a good idea, Reuters news agency reported Thursday.
Mr. Dasuki, who was speaking at London think-tank Chatham House, said INEC had distributed 30 million cards in 2014, with another 30 million left.
He said while INEC had assured him the distribution would be completed for the February polls, he believed it would be more meaningful to allow more time for a successful election.
“It costs you nothing, it’s still within the law,” Mr. Dasuki said he had told the INEC chairman, Reuters reported.
The NSA said it was for INEC to decide.
The APC has rejected the proposal, saying Mr. Dasuki was merely speaking the mind of the Jonathan administration which the party said is on the verge of being defeated, and requires more time to prepare.
The party said under no circumstance must the elections be scuttled.
Read APC statement below:
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the call by the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, for the postponement of next month’s general elections ostensibly to give INEC more time to distribute all Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), warning that under no circumstance must the elections be scuttled.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the call by Mr. Dasuki, has exposed the hitherto clandestine plot by the Jonathan Administration to push for the postponement of the polls, using all sorts of cheap tricks.
”Now that we have found the smoking gun, we are urging the international community, in particular, to urgently extract a commitment from President Goodluck Jonathan that the elections will hold as scheduled next month, and that he would respect the outcome, just as we have said,” it said.
APC said Mr. Dasuki was only seeking to buy time for the slugging Jonathan electioneering campaign to gather steam by hinging his postponement call on the delay in PVC distribution, adding: “They know for sure that if they don’t postpone the elections, there is no way they can win. They are just terrified.”
The party also called on Nigerians to reject in its entirety the ongoing orchestrated plot by the Jonathan Administration to postpone the elections, saying the constitutional crisis that will be triggered by such postponement is capable of undermining the nation’s democracy.
”After realizing it will be rejected by Nigerians who have borne the brunt of its mis-governance over the years, after realizing that its campaign of calumny against our presidential candidate has failed, the Jonathan Administration has now started to play its last card, which is the postponement of the election,” it said.
APC said the importance of elections cannot be over-emphasized, adding: “Election is the lifeblood of democracy, the mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates. It is the only way for the citizenry to renew and refresh the governing process so they can get the most benefits out of democracy. Therefore, anyone that tries to sabotage this mechanism is aiming a dagger straight to the heart of democracy.”
The party accused the Jonathan Administration of using all the tricks in the books to scuttle the forthcoming polls, including the plot to hide under the insurgency in the North-east, the needless controversy over the secondary school leaving certificate of our presidential candidate, the concocted report by the DSS alleging a plan to hack into INEC’s database and the fabricated report of Muhammadu Buhari’s ill-health.
”They tried to hide under terrorist attacks in the North-east and the fact that Nigeria is at war to shift the elections, this did not fly. They used the DSS to invade our Data Centre and then concoct the allegation that we are planning to hack into INEC’s Data Base, it did not fly as INEC said its Data Base cannot be hacked. They launched an aggressive campaign to convince Nigerians that our presidential candidate is not qualified to run because he has no secondary school
leaving certificate, but that also did not fly, as the certified results of his Cambridge examination have now been published for all to see.
”They went and procured a fake report showing our candidate is suffering from prostate cancer, hence he is not fit for the high office of President, but their antics were discovered when the health
institution that purportedly issued the report disowned it.
”Now they have launched their last set of jokers, which include hiring willing hands to make the television rounds saying there is no way the elections could hold next month, ostensibly because INEC is not ready, even when the electoral umpire has said it is ready to conduct the polls.
”There are also alleged plans to stage-manage some high profile cases of violence and arson, for which the opposition will be blamed and then its leaders arrested in droves, all in an effort to scuttle the polls. For those who find these hard to believe, we ask them to look at the sheer madness of a state governor placing a newspaper advert wishing our presidential candidate dead! The possible repercussions of this kind of provocative act are better imagined, had our party not been a peaceful party.
”In view of the above, we have decided to take our case to Nigerians and indeed the global community, so they can prevail on President Jonathan to allow the elections to hold as scheduled and to make a commitment to respect the outcome,” it said.
APC said never before has there been so much desperation on the part of any government to remain in office at all costs, even when it is clear for all to see that that government has run out of luck.
The party however called the attention of the President and his party hawks to a quote by the preeminent Indian leader Mahatma Ghandi, hoping they will learn a lesson or two from it:: “Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a
time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.”