APC alleges fresh plan to scuttle polls
• PDM, youths insist March 28 must be sacrosanct
• Umeh says opposition party anti-masses
AHEAD of the rescheduled dates for the polls, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Sunday raised the alarm over renewed moves by the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Administration to push for another postponement of the polls.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC said the multi-pronged efforts to prevent the elections from holding as rescheduled include the use of some 23 portfolio political parties to seek a further shift in the election dates and the destabilisation of INEC’s election plan through the orchestrated removal of its Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
It said the same 23 satellite parties of the PDP that were used to push for the six-week postponement of the elections have again started testing the waters by pushing for a further shift in the elections in the six states of the North-East, ostensibly to allow the conclusion of the counter-insurgency battle and also to allow those displaced to return home.
But a group of youths on the platform of the APC has started a unique campaign demanding that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian government should ensure the March 28, 2015 presidential election is not shifted again for any reason.
National Co-ordinator of the group, Tola Adekunle-Johnson, said judging by the level of satisfactory preparedness of INEC to conduct the general elections, it was imperative for the public to be sensitised on how important the general elections are to the nation, and the need for the new election dates to be respected.
The group said: “Our position is that nothing should bring about any further postponement and this we hope to do by embarking on gentle walk across the country to let the whole world know that the people are ready for this election. INEC has proved beyond reasonable doubt that it is ready and we the electorate are also ready.”
Also, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) yesterday enjoined well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the authorities to ensure that the general elections hold as rescheduled.
The party’s National Chairman, Alhaji Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim, while fielding questions from journalists in his office in Abuja, said that the opposition parties in the country were in a better position to provide the needed environment for the nation’s democracy to thrive, saying that the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) should be blamed for the country’s woes since the past 15 years of democratic rule.
He said: “Nigerians must continue to insist that the elections be held as rescheduled and in tune with constitutional provisions.”
In another development, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, has described the implementation of the recommendations of last year’s National Conference as the cardinal reason why Nigerians should trust and re-elect President Goodluck Jonathan in the March 28 presidential poll.
Umeh, in an interview with The Guardian yesterday in Agulu-uzoigbo, Anaocha Local Council, said that it was very unfortunate for those touting their love for unity and development of the nation under the APC even when the party dissociated itself and stayed away from the national conference where the future and unity of the nation was openly discussed.
According to him: “It is clear that since the APC opposed the conference, it would foolhardy of anyone to think they would touch the recommendations, let alone implement same, should they get elected. They are therefore anti-masses, despite all their antics and noise…”
The APC said while the 23 parties are pushing for the elections to be further postponed, the Jonathan Administration and the PDP are simultaneously forging ahead with their plan to remove Prof. Jega and replace him with a malleable acting Chairman whom, they believe, will do their bidding.
It said: ‘’Once they remove Jega, his replacement will either seek more time to organise the polls or simply jettison the plan to use card readers, thereby opening the door for those who have been buying up PVCs to use them.”
“Is it not interesting that the same administration that has been flaunting free and fair elections as a key achievement has now gone for the jugular of the same man who organised those polls? Is the man they don’t want not the same person who organised the 2011 polls, which the administration has described as free, fair and credible? What has now gone wrong between them and their poster boy for successful elections?
The party, which warned that the consequences of another postponement of the elections will be dire indeed, especially because it will create a constitutional crisis that is capable of endangering the country’s democracy and destabilising the country in its entirety, called on Nigerians, especially the civil society, to be very vigilant in the days ahead as the cloud of uncertainty becomes thicker and the vultures begin to circle.
Also, Head of Media Relations of the party’s youth group, Kingsley Binitie, said beyond the election, the group would also hold the APC government accountable to the people when they eventually emerged.
He said: “By God’s grace, our presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Burahi and his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, will form the next government at the centre in Nigeria and we will hold them to their campaign promises. On the day of elections, we will ensure that people come out to vote and that their votes are protected.”
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