..Endorses Jonathan, says our people must not be returned to Egypt
…EU laments failure to implement election reform recommendations
…Intersociety drags INEC to Pope, UN, 11 missions over poor preparations
By Dayo Johnson, Evelyn Usman & Joseph Erunke
Akure—THE Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday said that if the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC goes ahead to conduct the Febuary 14 general election with almost 30 million voters cards yet to be distributed, the exercise will not be credible.
Rising from a four-hour meeting in Akure, the country home of its Chairman, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Afenifere, which called on Nigerians not to vote for any candidate who is not in support of the implementation of the National Conference report, lamented that “as at today, over 15 million voters have not collected their cards.’’
Its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin said: “There are 14 million voters cards that are yet to arrive the country. If we put them together it is almost half of the total electorate that are yet to collect their voter’s cards.’’
In like manner, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) alerted the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis; UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and 11 Foreign Missions of looming trouble in Africa’s most populous country as a result of INEC’s alleged moves to disenfranchise 35 million registered voters.
This came as the European Union Election Observation Mission, EUEOM, attributed the problems bedevilling Nigeria’s electoral process to what it described as the failure of government to implement the election reform recommendations it prepared for the country after the 2011 general election.
The foreign organisation regretted that out of the 50 recommendations it prepared for the Nigerian authorities, following the 2011 polls, only one, adoption of the freedom of information law, was adhered to.
Meanwhile, a renowned security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, has called on the Federal Government to postpone the February 2015 general elections in the North-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe to reduce the loss of lives and wanton destruction of property and allow the military complete its counter-terrorism operations in the zone.
Jega’s assurance not reassuring
While reading the Afenifere communique, Odumakin said: “The assurance by the INEC Chairman (Professor Attahiru Jega) that they will distribute cards before the election is not reassuring. If you have failed to do it before now, what is the assurance that he is going to do it now?
“We want to warn that the outcome of any election conducted on the basis of disenfranchising almost half of the electorate will not be credible or acceptable.’’
According to him, the “meeting viewed with seriousness the share incompetence on the part of INEC. The INEC that wanted to create 30, 000 polling units few weeks to the election has yet to distribute almost 30 million voter’s cards. When you look at the table INEC has given, what they tell us is that in each state, this is the PVC received, hiding the total number of registered voters.
“Also, we want to warn in Yoruba land that we should be careful of those who promise change and do not believe in the restructuring of Nigeria and those who boycotted National Conference and described it as diversion.
“The 2014 national conference has become a campaign issue. Anybody that did not participate in it or does not believe in it does not love our people. They want to drag them into slavery. With the report of 2014, we believe we have crossed Jordan, we are yet to get to the Promise Land but we should not be sent to Egypt.’’
Leaders that attended the meeting include Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, two former governors of Osun and Ogun states, Iyiola Omisore and Gbenga Daniel, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Sehinde Arogbofa, Chief Olu Falae and Supo Sonibare among others.
Afenifere endorses Jonathan
Meanwhile, Afenifere last night endorsed President Jonathan as its candidate for next month’s Presidential election insisting that President Jonathan is the right choice to rule the country and mentioned continuity as the reason for the endorsement.
The prominent Yoruba leaders at the meeting including Governor Olusegun Mimiko and former Ogun state Governor, Chief Gbenga Daniel had earlier held a closed door meeting with President Jonathan at Fasoranti’s residence.
The Afenifere leaders stressed the need for continuity of the lofty transformation programmes of President Jonathan, saying all Nigerians who appreciate good work must support Jonathan.
President Jonathan who arrived Ondo State yesterday was received by Governor Mimiko and he is expected to address his supporters today at the Democracy park, Akure.
”Govt will fix the country if it adopts our recommendations”
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, the EUEOM said it was incumbent on Nigeria to either adopt the recommendations or throw them away.
Leader of the group in the country and member of the European Parliament from Spain, Chief Observer Santiago Fisas Ayxela, at the briefing, said: “We made 50 recommendations from the last elections in 2011 in relation to legal reforms and no such recommendation has been undertaken except for the Freedom of Information Act.”
He noted that flaws observed in the previous election which formed the basis for the recommendations were still in place.
Ayxela, who said his team has been in the country since November, to monitor the forth coming general elections,at the instance of the Nigerian government, refused to disclose what the team had observed in the country’s present electoral system, preferring to give its assessment after the whole exercise.
While reiterating the organisation’s position not to extend its observation assignment to the troubled North East geo-political zone of the country, Mr Fisas Ayxela, however, said his group would get situation reports from contacts on ground.
Disenfranchisement of over 35 million voters
In a detailed petition dated January 27, 2015, entitled: ‘’ 2015 General Elections In Nigeria & INEC’s Shoddy Preparations: Chaos, Anarchy & Bloodletting Looming’, the petition is signed for Intersociety by the Board Chairman Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head, Democracy & Good Governance Programme Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq.; Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Programme Obianuju Igboeli, Esq.; and Head, Campaign & Publicity Department Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., the group said: ‘’As of date, over 35 million Nigerians most of them registered voters have been disenfranchised by INEC.
The total number of disenfranchised registered voters across the country is 30,059,085; out of which those that have not been captured in the PVCs production and delivery is 14,491,866, while those captured in the PVCs but have not received theirs till date is 15,567,219. Other five million eligible registrants were also not captured during various continuous registration exercises across the country particularly in the Southeast and the South-West geopolitical zones. This brings the total number of disenfranchised adult voters in the country to over 35 million. There are over five million Igbo residents in the North, who are registered voters. Many of them fled the area abandoning their PVCs following Boko Haram and Islamist Fulani insurgencies.”
Foreign Missions to which the petition is addressed are those of the United States of America; Britain; Federal Republic of Germany; Canada; Republic of France; Brazil; Japan; Australia; China; India; and the Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria & ECOWAS.