By Charles Kumolu
LAGOS — THE All Progressives Congress, APC, has expressed doubt over President Goodluck Jonathan’s promise that the May 29, 2015 handover date is still sacrosanct, noting that the dates for the presidential and governorship polls should also remain sacred.
It also warned against postponing the exercise on the basis of insurgency in the North-West geo-political zone to avoid giving victory to insurgents.
Briefing newsmen yesterday in Lagos, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the APC would not accept any postponement, adding that the party is ready for the elections.
His words: “APC is ready for the elections and under no circumstance will we accept a postponement. For us, February 14 and 28 are as sacrosanct as May 29, 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.
“We note that the Peoples Democratic Party, 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.
“We are satisfied with the assurances by Independent National Electoral Commission, 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 organise successful elections.
We’ ll not accept any postponement
“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.
“Any postponement on the basis of the insurgency in the North-East will represent a victory for the terror 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.
“The 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 February 14 and 28.
“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 in Lagos, the President said he told the visiting US top diplomat that “the May 29 handover date is sacrosanct.”
“We say this is not reassuring enough, and that for us, the February 14 and 28 dates for the elections are as sacrosanct as the handover date of May 29. 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.
“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.”