16 parties, 4 presidential candidates threaten boycott if general elections are not postponed

Sixteen political parties and four presidential candidates have called for the postponement of the general elections.

This was made known on their behalf by the presidential candidate of the United Democratic Party, UDP, Godson Okoye, on Tuesday at a news conference in Abuja.

Among the parties are United Democratic Party, UDP; the Citizen Peoples Party, CPP; the Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN; the Action Alliance, AA; the Peoples Democratic Congress, PDC; the Labour Party, LP; Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN; Alliance for Democracy, AD; the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP; the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP; and the Independent Democrat, ID.

The other presidential candidates who want the election dates shifted are Sam Ekeh of CPP, Anifowose Kelani of AA, and Ganiyu Galadima of ACPN.

There are 26 registered parties and 14 presidential candidates.

The presidential and the national assembly elections are fixed for February 14 while the governorship and state houses of assembly comes up on February 28.

The parties said the current security challenge in the north east zone of the country and the untidy manner the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, handled the distribution of the Permanent Voters Card informed their “patriotic” call for the postponement of the polls.

They said a credible election could not hold in a country where a geo- political zone would be practically excluded due to insecurity.

They said the threat of violence and use of indecent languages had been a clear breach of the peace pact signed by the 14 presidential candidates last month.

“We the concerned leaders of political parties have observed some dangerous trends, which if not checked may negatively and adversely affect our democracy”, the parties said.

They also argued that the postponement of the election would not in any way contravene the provisions of Section 25 and 26 of the Electoral Act. According to him, it would give the electoral body adequate time to distribute the remaining PVCs to registered voters.

They said, “We are not urging INEC to do anything that is unlawful, illegal or unconstitutional. It is unfortunately becoming clear by the day that most Nigerians appear not to be ready for election but are ready for violence”.

They said they would not participate in the election if INEC failed to heed their call to shift the elections.

They also criticised the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, for meeting only the PDP and APC presidential candidates, President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari during his recent visit to Nigeria.

Also on Tuesday, the presidential candidate of the United Progressive Party, UPP, Chekwas Okorie, kicked against calls for the postponement of the polls.

He said since INEC had admitted that over 80 per cent of the PVCs had been distributed, there was no need shifting the elections.

He also argued that there is no country in the world, including the United States, where 80 per cent of the voting population participated in an election.

Nigeria’s leading opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, had earlier spoken against postponing the elections.

Since the National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, canvassed the shift in the dates of the polls two weeks ago, many Nigerians and groups have also joined in the call or disagreed with him.

A group of youth numbering about 100 also protested at INEC head office in Abuja on Monday calling for the delay in the conduct of the polls.

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