LAGOS: A local civil society organization appealed for the postponement of general elections scheduled for next month, citing insecurity and the challenges some prospective voters have faced collecting their permanent voters’ cards.
“The National Democratic Vanguard wishes to join the call by some prominent Nigerians and civil society groups for a postponement of the general elections scheduled to commence on February 14th 2015, ” the organization said in a statement by Kola Salau, its National Coordinator.
“There is no doubt that it is exclusively within the constitutional powers of INEC to fix dates for elections, we are not unaware that the same law gave the window opportunity for elections to be conducted not earlier than 150 day or later than 30days to the expiration of tenure of current administration.” The organisation said it had realized the majority of eligible voters particularly in the southern parts of the country were yet to receive their permanent voters cards despite all assurances by the INEC.
Salau said it should also be noted that it was constitutionally required that elections took place in every part of the country during a general election, as it is, there was no assurance of peace in the troubled North Eastern region of the country with stakeholders in the region calling on INEC to consider a shift forward.
He said the organization agreed with Adamawa State Governor, James Ngilari, who proposed elections be shifted to April.
“With just 25days to the Presidential election, all indicators show that the INEC is ill prepared as several Nigerians are already envisaging being disenfranchised while there is no assurance that the card readers that will eventually be used for the election proper are yet to be completely procured by the commission.”
It is National Democratic Vanguard’s opinion that to have a successful election, INEC must ensure that all registered eligible voters were given their cards and all factors such as adequate provision of card readers, ballot needs for the physically challenged and adequate security were properly addressed.
“We therefore call on Nigerians to prevail on INEC to consider the National interest above the ambition of individuals and political parties by shifting forward, the forthcoming 2015 general elections in order to ensure that all issues being raised are properly addressed to ensure a credible election that will be acceptable to all, ” Salau said.
President Goodluck Jonathan, in a meeting with United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, said elections would be held as scheduled. He said his administration would ensure credible polls.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY