Friday, January 23, 2015

President Jonathan Moves To Postpone February Elections By 6 Months?



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President Goodluck Jonathan, is actively working on plans to postpone the general elections, earlier scheduled to hold February 14, according to SaharaReporters. This is based on the fact that the National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki, had publicly called for the postponement of the elections on a couple of occassions.

The NSA initially made the call while speaking at a Chattam House lecture in London on Thursday, January 22, saying that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was yet to distribute Permanent Voters Cards (PVC), to all eligible voters. During a BBC World Service radio interview broadcast on Friday, January 23, Dasuki, again repeated his call for the elections to be postponed.

“I don’t see how, logically, you can distribute 30 million voters cards in the next two weeks. That’s asking for too much… There’s no rush in doing it in February if the law allows you to do it in April. The provision (for holding a general election) is for not more than 90 days and not less than 30 days before the end of the administration. We still have some time to play with. I think it’s better safe than sorry.”

An excerpt from the Sahara Reporters article reads;

“...President Goodluck Jonathan was reluctant to hold national elections because his popularity had dwindled considerably and he feared losing the election.

In the last few days, as the popularity of General Muhammadu Buhari for the presidency has grown, Mr. Jonathan has spent vast sums of money mobilizing people to call for the postponement of the elections.

INEC spokesperson, Kayode Idowu told SaharaReporters today that INEC was not aware of Col. Dasuki’s suggestion, and that the elections will hold as scheduled.

Several sources connected to the presidency told SaharaReporters that President Jonathan wants the elections to be postponed for at least six months, a period that will enable him to appoint a new INEC chairman of his liking to oversee the elections. Professor Attahiru Jega’s tenure expires in July 2015.

With Jega out of the way, Jonathan would appoint another INEC chairman who would further postponement of the election.

SaharaReporters sources stated that President Jonathan is seriously considering an “Interim Government of National Unity” that would elongate his tenure till 2017. That would mean he spends eight years in power as President, the equivalent of two terms.”

There is no confirmation of the claims made in the report by either the president or those in his inner circle. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, has said there is no current plan to have the elections postponed. He said in Abuja on Friday:

“I have said everything we are doing, including the challenges of the distribution of Permanent Voters Card, we believe is something we can address long before February 14. We issued (the) election timetable for February 14 almost a year ago‎ and we have been very busy working to implement that timetable to the letter.”

Jega stated that more than 50 million of the 68 million cards had been made available and 4.1 million were received on Thursday.

Do you think the elections need to be postponed? Would it be such a bad thing if it was, especially considering the insecurity in the North East of the country?




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