Protest rocks Abuja over alleged plot to postpone elections

Protesters displaying placards at the protest against postponment of 2015 election

Some residents of Abuja on Thursday protested against alleged plans by the Nigerian government to manipulate the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] to postpone the forthcoming 2015 general elections.

The protest, organized by the civic group, National Consensus Movement, commenced from the Unity Fountain, Maitama, with protesters marching in the directions of Eagle Square, a premium event centre in the nation’s capital.

But as they filed past the Federal Secretariat, the protesters were blocked by officers of the Nigeria police.

Not deterred, the protesters went on chanting, ” Election must hold, Election must hold.”

The placard-carrying protesters said it was hard for anyone to believe that after heating up the polity, the government could resort to an attempt to postpone the already planned election.

Some of the various placards read: “Nigerians say no to postponement, we want election”, “Democracy must survive.”, “Our vote of confidence to Jega. Give us elections. February 14.” “Election must hold on 14th of February ” and “GEJ, you claimed you have done 20,000km of roads, why are you afraid of elections?”

Others read, “No responsible Nigerian will support postponement of election and NCS members are all responsible. So say no to postponement ” and “No to election postponement. ”

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES, Mohammed Abdullahi,30, an Abuja-based business man, said it would be unfair to the average Nigerian if the election is postponed.

Mr. Abdullahi said elections in Nigeria have become occasions when some citizens travel from their base to their states of origin to vote.

He said a call for postponement would inconvenience people who have already moved their families to various locations in a Nigeria to cast their votes.

He also called on the government to reconsider its plans for the rumoured postponement and allow INEC its independent right to handle the affairs of the election.

“Some of my friends in PDP have even told me it’s not fair because they have spent a lot of money in campaigns. And postponement only means sourcing for funds for fresh campaigns,” Mr. Abdullahi said.

Others said the plan for postponement is a tactical approach by the present administration to ensure elongation of tenure.

The National Council of State is meeting today to deliberate on issues of possible postponement.

However, Attahiru Jega, Chairman, INEC, has said the commission is prepared for the coming elections and has no plans for a postponement.

Before today’s anti-postponement protest, some apparently hired youths numbering about 100, had on Monday marched on INEC headquarters demanding the postponement of the elections.

The youth had gathered in front of the electoral body’s headquarters, asking the commission to delay the polls because of the difficulty in the distribution of the Permanent Voters Card, PVCs.

The protest confirmed PREMIUM TIMES exclusive story of last Thursday revealing the plot by the Presidency and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] to organize nationwide protest against the electoral body to force it to shift the polls.

According to the protesters, only 40 per cent of the poll had been distributed ahead of the February 14 and 28 elections.

They also claimed that INEC needed 960,000 ad hoc staff but that at the time of their protest the staff had not been engaged.

They argued that if the polls were allowed to go ahead as scheduled, several million Nigerians would not be able to vote.

The youth, who gathered at Unity Fountain beside Hilton Hotel before marching to the INEC headquarters on Zambezi Street, were bearing banners and placards with the inscriptions such as “Election is for general participation, not for selective few” “INEC, do the right thing,” “Don’t disenfranchise Nigerians,” “We demand for the extension of election to allow Nigerian exercise their franchise.”

After the protest, the youth returned to the Unity Fountain where they were sighted sharing money.

It was not clear if they were sponsored by the Presidency or the PDP, but sources indicated that they were hired by some unnamed individuals who promised them money.

The National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel, had recently at an event in London made a case for a shift of the elections to give INEC more time to distribute all the PVCs.

However, criticisms trailed the call with Nigeria’s leading opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, alleging that Mr. Dasuki was only making the call to buy time for President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign to gather steam.


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  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    APC-sponsored protests will not stop government from doing the right thing. And, the right thing is to postpone the elections because it is clear that INEC is not ready.

    • tundemash

      Omo ole ofokunle Orafidiya ….. INEC is supposed to be independent and have said they are ready for elections.
      How come police didn’t block the PDP sponsored protests to INEC office 2 days agoo but blocked this protest ?

      If Dumbo isn’t ready for elections after 4 yrs in power, he will never be ready. The hunter has become the hunted; your paymasters are jittery of elections.

      • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

        Omo ale Oriburukutunde, INEC claimed it was ready in 2011, but what happened?

        • tundemash

          Omo ale Orafidiya,
          What happened was that Dumbo was elected President. After that, same INEC has conducted elections in several states the last two being Osun and Ekiti states. What exactly are u struggling to say Omo ale orafidiya?

          • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

            Ayiri, there was an expensive false start.

          • tundemash

            Omo ale Orafidiya,

            Was the election in Ekiti and Osun an expensive false start ?

            Below is your fellow druggie … speaking from both sides of his mouth.

          • IG

            You guys should calm down. To God We Pray; as we, you & I, continue to Work for a Better Nigeria.

        • zacchaeus Akinleye

          You are clearly unfit for this forum. Why don’t you limit your forays to only internet fraud that you’re known for.

    • Ay Pointblank

      Oloriburuku Omo irankiran Orofidiya … Sango will fire you, your oga and your entire family …. and others like you

    • dd

      Seconded. Jagaga is not ready. Till now he has admitted a candidate to school without certificate. He refuse to disqualify him because that his contribution to north. He will definitely rig the election for him. He is not ready.

    • eddy

      But I thot u guys said Jonathan will win no matter what? So why the clamor for postponement?

  • Truthometer

    Election must go on as scheduled. Enough of hanky panky by Dumbo and his wrecking crew. Allow the will of the people to prevail. Vote for GMB!

  • Frank Bassey

    This is the handiwork of APC and INEC, How come there are more PVCs delivered in the North-East, North-West states than in the South-South, South-East and parts of Lagos dominated by non-indigenes. Their trick has been uncovered and that is what all this noise is about.

    • Dan Arewa

      Do you really use the right side of your brain to think before commenting?

    • LasgidyPort

      Bigot

    • Maitama Tambari

      What a shame? CHANGAN! YES WE CAN.

    • dd

      Don’t mind them, Jagaga is contributing is own quota to North just the way Kwakwaso and Sanusi contributed. Aso Rock is Hausa man oil well.

  • Dan Arewa

    I joined you good Nigerians in protesting. ELECTION MUST HOLD ON 14TH FEBRUARY, 2015. There is no going back. Dumbo-Sambo era is gone and we need a fresh air and a real transformation not transformation with Boko Haram, sheer corruption, incompetency and wanton destruction of our economy. We need these shoe/Fatiha less criminals out of Aso Villa.

    • Buhari_the_Certficate_FORGER

      tell INEC to share the PVC first. No Nigerian should be disenfranchised.

      • tundemash

        Tell Dumbo to declare public holiday so that Reno can give you an off day from tis your pay-per-post job to collect your PVC .
        By the way, was PVC collected 100% for Osun and Ekiti states elections ?

  • Buhari_the_Certficate_FORGER

    how many people are in the protest self, I cant count up to 10

  • JOHN OYI

    Election should not be postpone

    • Dan Arewa

      Seconded

  • Ogundeji Ogbede Oluwatosin

    it is all a trick to keep incompetent leaders in office they will fail

  • Walter

    If the elections hold and PDP wins, no problem. We’ll take it, even though #isupportBuhari

  • Buhari_the_Certficate_FORGER

    No Nigerian should be disenfranchised.

  • dd

    After they protested, we saw them collecting N5,000 naira from the organiser.

    • jazz man

      Is not 5000 is only 2000 most of the people only ends with 1300…they didn’t complete thier promises,,the organizers

  • Dan Balarabe

    If you are sure you have done well for Nigerian populace, you transformed Nigerian, let the election hold.

  • ibrahim

    no one protested when the chibok girls went missing now they want to protest election…shame on nigerians

    • True Nigerian

      Well, there were daily protests against to kidnap of the Chibok girls and the woeful denial of our government on the plight of the girls.
      I am surprised by your comment. So if I may ask, which planet are you returning from? Where have you been?