Some Southern Nigerian elders, under the aegis of Southern Nigerian Peoples Assembly, SNPA, have called for the sack and arrest of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega.
The group also canvassed the postponement of this month’s general election scheduled for 14 and 28.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the SNPA alleged that Mr. Jega directed the release of the Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, to emirs, district heads and some unnamed top politicians in the North.
At the conference were a former Federal Commissioner for Information, Edwin Clark, former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife; a member of the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Femi Okunrounmu; and a former Information Minister, Walter Ofonagoro and several others.
The group, which is rooting for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan, said the directive of the INEC chairman was the reason about 100 per cent distribution of the PVCs had been achieved in the North while only 50 per cent was achieved so far in the South.
“We authoritatively gathered with unassailable and incontrovertible evidence that the INEC Chairman, who was away in Lagos for an official engagement, through one of his National Commissioners that represented him, met with select leaders of the Northern Elders Forum, led by Prof. Ango Abdullahi, on the 20th August 2014, where strategies and modalities for enthroning a President of Northern extraction through vote rigging were discussed and agreed upon, Mr. Okurounmu said.
“The meeting was sequel to an earlier meeting of Northern Elders Forum held on 16th August, 2014 at Arewa House, Kaduna, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Sule where it was resolved that all avenues must be explored towards enthroning a President of Northern extraction in the forthcoming 2015 elections.
He stated further, “In addition, Jega reportedly directed the release of PVCs in their catchment states to Emirs, District Heads and top politicians and not necessarily to the voters themselves, a situation that culminated in some voters being in possession of two to three PVCs.
“Despite Jega’s public admission that the Commission has all funds it requires to conduct the 2015 elections, the group was aware that the Northern Elders Forum obtained and distributed 150 pieces of laptops to INEC for each of the Northern states.
“This accounted for nearly 100 per cent PVC collection rate, especially in the North West states, as compared with less than 50 per cent collection rate in the Southern states. This is the reason why Lagos State, with a sophisticated population of over 5.2 million, has not been distributed more than 2.5 million PVCs.”
The group called for the re-constitution and repositioning of INEC and that the postponement of the elections would allow the Commission conduct credible and acceptable elections.
It also threatened to mobilize southerners to ensure elections are not held in that part of the country if the Federal Government fails to act on its demand.
When contacted by PREMIUM TIMES, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, simply said, “no comment”.