Polls Shift Is For National Interest, Says PCRC Chief
THE National Organising Secretary of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Nigeria, Austen Yong, has taken a swipe at those calling on President GoodLuck Jonathan to sign an undertaking that the 2015 elections would not be shifted again or his tenure elongated.
Yong, who spoke to journalists in Lagos, said the initial polls shift was the best for Nigeria because it saved INEC from monumental embarrassment, which would have manifested through its unpreparedness.
According to the PCRC executive, besides not being ready for the elections, there was also the issue of security.
“The National Council of State asked the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega to make further consultations with Nigerians on the feasibility of conducting the election. And in doing this, the elections had to be shifted based on security advice.
“Security is a collective responsibility. We must not leave it to security agencies alone. And we must all realise that the insurgency cannot stop without people’s cooperation. But in the mean time, the polls shift was for the best interest of Nigeria,” he said.
According to Yong, there is no way elections would have held except INEC deliberately wanted to disenfranchise 20 million Nigerians, who were yet to collect their Permanent Voter’s Card’s (PVC).
Asked if it would be easier to conduct the elections if Nigerians were allowed to used their Temporary Voters cards, he dismissed the idea, advising that INEC should endeavour to give as many Nigerians who genuinely registered, their voters cards.
Yong, however, advised against the use of card readers, which INEC insists would be used for checking double registration, saying it would be counter-productive.
“There is nothing wrong with the card reader, but it could be subject to human error and manipulation. Besides there is no how you can accredit up to 200 persons with that card, yet you want 500 persons to be accredited per booth,” he said.
He advised PCRC members across the country to embark on intensive advocacy campaigns against electoral violence in all Nigerian communities.
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