February’s Election Dates Are Sacrosanct, says APC


We will not accept any shift in election dates, APC warns

Being text of a press conference addressed by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday, Jan. 26th 2015 at the Protea Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

Good morning gentlemen.

You will recall that in our press statement of Jan. 22nd 2015, our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), strongly rejected the call by the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, for the postponement of next month’s general elections, ostensibly to give more time to INEC to distribute the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).

In spite of this, we have noted with dismay that the Jonathan Administration has continued to pursue the plot to shift the elections. That plot in itself is one of the two-pronged approach being pursued by the Administration to either shift or scuttle the elections, which are scheduled for Feb. 14th and 28th.

The other is the campaign for an Interim Government. It is important to state here that for the APC as a party, both options represent the Devil’s Alternative (apologies to British writer Frederick Forsyth, who has a book by the same title), and are totally, absolutely unacceptable to us under any circumstance.

When President Goodluck Jonathan met with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday here in Lagos, the President said he told the visiting US top diplomat that ”the May 29th handover date is sacrosanct”. We say this is not reassuring enough, and that for us, the February 14th and 28th dates for the elections are as sacrosanct as the handover date of May 29th.

Therefore, we are more assured by the call made by Mr. Kerry, that the elections should be held on time as scheduled. Nothing short of that will be acceptable to our party.

We are also satisfied with the assurance by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it is ready for the elections. The electoral body has also said it will continue with PVC distribution until the eve of the elections. Therefore, the orchestrated campaign about INEC not being ready for the elections is sheer baloney!

Now, make no mistakes about it, we are aware of the limitless capacity of the PDP and the Jonathan Administration for anti-democratic and desperate actions in pursuit of selfish motives that have nothing to do with the interest of the good people of Nigeria. We are aware of the clandestine moves, including reaching out to various interest groups and hiring talking heads to make the television rounds, being made by the Administration to get the elections shifted. 

The Jonathan Administration’s apologists are hiding under the facade that millions of Nigerians will be disenfranchised if the elections should proceed as scheduled. Again, they are using the terrorist attacks in some parts of the North to advance their election shift argument. We sincerely hope the recent escalation of the Boko Haram attacks, and the siege on Maiduguri on Sunday, a day after President Jonathan campaigned in the city, are not connected to this sophistry. All in all, these arguments in support of election postponement is a smokescreen. The truth is that the forthcoming elections terrify the PDP and the Jonathan Administration to such an extent that they are looking for ways to postpone or scuttle the polls.

If indeed the Jonathan Administration is genuinely concerned that many Nigerians have not received their PVCs, let it declare a three-day public holiday to give working Nigerians the opportunity to collect their PVCs. Let the government work with INEC to ensure that the PVCs are distributed at the polling units. If these steps are followed, within five days, the distribution would have been completed.
In conclusion, gentlemen, let me summarize the stand of our party, the APC, regarding next month’s general elections:
1. APC is ready for the elections, and under no circumstance will we accept a postponement. For us, Feb. 14th and 28th are as sacrosanct as May 29th, the handover date. The government has had four years to prepare, and the dates for the elections were announced over a year ago, therefore there is no going back now.
2. We note that  the PDP has also said it is ready for the polls. That is good news. Let them now end their clandestine push for either postponement or the formation of an interim government, stop engaging in scare and scandal mongering and dwell on issues, ahead of the polls.
3. We are satisfied with the assurances by INEC that it is ready for the polls, and we call on the Jonathan Administration to give the electoral body all the support and resources it requires to organize successful elections.
4. Any postponement of the election will mean that INEC is not independent and that it is being dictated to by the Federal Government, a position that will hurt the credibility of the electoral umpire.
5. Finally, any postponement on the basis of the insurgency in the North-east will represent a victory for the terrorist group Boko Haram, and will create a constitutional logjam that will take Nigeria back to 1993. Believe me, we have travelled that route before and it was not pleasant.
Gentlemen, I thank you
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)
Lagos, Jan. 26th 2015


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