The Nigerian Senate has summoned the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, over the postponement of the country’s general elections.
The Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, raised the motion for Mr. Jega to be invited to explain why the general elections which were scheduled for February were postponed to March and April.
Mr. Jega was also invited to show how cards readers would be used at the elections. The INEC chairman is expected to attend the session with the card readers to prove its efficiency to the lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress Senators questioned why Mr. Jega’s should be invited.
They contended that the heads of the military should have been invited instead to explain why they would have been unable to provide security on the previous dates scheduled for the elections.
One of the reasons Mr. Jega gave for postponing the elections was that the military said they will not provide security during the polls, as they would be more focused on combating the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East during that period.
The APC senators also kicked against any possible postponement of the elections for a second time.
The Minority Senate Leader, George Akume, during the briefing said he believed that the laws were manipulated. He said Ghana used the card readers, so why not Nigeria.
He also pointed out that Pakistan, Mali and Iraq held elections while at war so Nigeria’s case should not be different especially with 100,000 troops in the Nigerian Army.
“If Ghana and Kenya got it right using card readers, why can’t INEC do it? We believe this is a serious attempt and manipulation to undermine democracy,” Mr. Akume said. “The President himself has sworn to protect the country but they are doing this in their own selfish interest.
“We know elections have been held in Mali, Pakistan and Iraq who are at war with themselves, so why will Nigeria be an exception? We have 100,000 troops, so why is it not possible to uphold the constitution? The time has passed when ballot boxes will be taken to rooms and tomorrow, we have senators, governors, etc.”
The Senator representing Osun West, Babajide Omoworare, said card readers were only used for accreditation and not voting.
The Senator representing Kwara Central, Bukola Saraki, said his major contribution would be for the security agencies to ensure that elections take place on the re-scheduled dates, March 28 and April 11.
The Senator representing Gombe Central, Danjuma Goje, said he hoped the issue of card readers would not warrant another postponement.
“Why the sudden issue of card readers?” he asked. “We are bothered because this might be a medium to postpone the election again for card readers that will eventually be used.”