Jittery Jonathan still plotting election postponement, APC says

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed,
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed,

The All Progressives Congress, APC, on Monday in Lagos said President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are terrified at the prospect of losing the general elections slated for February 14 and 28.

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, who addressed a press conference, said it is the fear of losing the election that forms what he calls, clandestine moves by Mr. Jonathan and the PDP to postpone the elections.

The National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki had recently advised the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to postpone the election for at least three months to enable all Nigerians collect their Permanent Voters Card, PVC.

“The Jonathan administration’s apologists are hiding under the facade that millions of Nigerians will be disenfranchised if the elections should proceed as scheduled,” he said.

Mr. Mohammed also said proponents of election shift are using the ongoing insurgency in the northeast to call for postponement.

“Again, they are using the terrorist attacks in some parts of the North to advance their election shift argument.

We sincerely hope the recent escalation of the Boko Haram attacks, and the siege on Maiduguri on Sunday, a day after President Jonathan campaigned in the city, are not connected to this sophistry.

“All in all, these arguments in support of election postponement are a smokescreen. The truth is that the forthcoming elections terrify the PDP and the Jonathan Administration to such an extent that they are looking for ways to postpone or scuttle the polls,” he said.

Mr. Mohammed said his party was dismayed at the rate at which Mr. Jonathan’s administration continues to pursue the plot to shift the elections.

He said the plot in itself is one of the two-pronged approaches being pursued by the administration to either shift or scuttle the elections.

Mr. Mohammed said apart from postponement over PVC distribution, the other approach is the campaign for Interim Government.

“It is important to state here that for the APC as a party, both options represent the Devil’s Alternative (apologies to British writer Frederick Forsyth, who has a book by the same title), and are totally, absolutely unacceptable to us under any circumstance,” he said.

Mr. Mohammed recalled that Mr. Jonathan met with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday in Lagos where the President told the visiting US top diplomat that ”the May 29th handover date is sacrosanct”.

He said for the APC, that statement was not reassuring enough, and that the February 14 and 28 dates for the elections are as sacrosanct as the handover date of May 29.

He said the APC is more assured by the call made by Mr. Kerry, that the elections should be held on time as scheduled.

“Nothing short of that will be acceptable to our party,” he said.

Mr. Mohammed added that since INEC itself said it is ready for the elections, and that it will continue with PVC distribution until the eve of the elections; the orchestrated campaign about INEC not being ready for the elections is “sheer baloney”.

“Now, make no mistakes about it, we are aware of the limitless capacity of the PDP and the Jonathan administration for anti-democratic and desperate actions in pursuit of selfish motives that have nothing to do with the interest of the good people of Nigeria.

“We are aware of the clandestine moves, including reaching out to various interest groups and hiring talking heads to make the television rounds, being made by the administration to get the elections shifted,” he said.

The APC spokesperson said his party is ready for the election.

The PDP had also issued a statement Sunday, saying it is ready for the elections in February.

“APC is ready for the elections, and under no circumstance will we accept a postponement. For us, February 14th and 28th are as sacrosanct as May 29th, the handover date.

“The government has had four years to prepare, and the dates for the elections were announced over a year ago, therefore there is no going back now

“We note that the PDP has also said it is ready for the polls. That is good news. Let them now end their clandestine push for either postponement or the formation of an interim government, stop engaging in scare and scandal mongering and dwell on issues, ahead of the polls,” he said.

The APC said if current administration is genuinely concerned that many Nigerians have not received their PVCs, it should declare a three-day public holiday to give working Nigerians the opportunity to collect their PVCs.

“Let the government work with INEC to ensure that the PVCs are distributed at the polling units. If these steps were followed, within five days, the distribution would have been completed,” he said.

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