By Monsuru Olowoopejo
Lagos—Southern Nigeria Ethnic Nationalities have said postponing the 2015 general elections would afford the country the opportunity to address issues that could impede achieving a free and fair polls.
They argued that security of life and property must be addressed before the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, organized the elections earlier scheduled for February 14 and 28, 2015.
They spoke at a Town Hall meeting at the MUSON centre, Lagos, deliberating on the theme “Nigeria at Crossroad: restructuring and election.”
Lamenting the country’s lax security, they noted that its officers did not have the capabilities to prevent a breakdown of law and order should there be one in any of the geo-political zones of the country.
Convener of the meeting, Mr. Timi Kaiser-Wilhelm, said ethnic nationalities were not against the elections but noted that there was need to consider other factors that would ensure free and fair elections in the country.
He said: “For instance security, going into the elections without addressing it could affect the outcome of the elections. So there is need for us to restructure the country.
“Even the ongoing distributions of PVCs have been structured in a manner to favour the north not minding other regions in the country.”
Timi Kaiser-Wilhelm added that the number of PVCs allocated to the regions further attest to plans by the electoral commission to favour the North.
“Out of 10 top officials in charge of this up-coming election, eight of them are from the North West and some of them are now close associate of APC and having such relationship with a top contending part will definitely take his toll on the election,” he added.
On his part, the Secretary General, Lower Niger Congress, Mr. Tony Nnadi, posited that 2015 was the year that would define whether Nigeria will remain as a country or not as the need for restructuring was inevitable.
Nnadi noted that indications had shown that if certain issues were not addressed before the elections, the country could witness what occurred between 1964 and 1965.
He stated that this was how it started in 1964 and that because nobody addressed it, it became the source of the calamities that happened in the country for six years.
Nnadi said: “Within this period, the country experienced civil war. And it led to the death of 3.5 million citizens of the country.
“I am sure we are moving towards that side now, if these politicians are not going to listen to the voice of the people. We the citizens are going to prevent that fire they want to set up.
“Election or no election we must first determine the constitution by which the winner will governor, the constitution we had was imposed.
“The one we have in place was imposed and we have to decide our unionism before election, we know that politician will not listen but we are waiting for them at the bridge.
“The constitution is faulty, oppressive laws are put into constitution, we have five constitutions before they collapsed. All of them into one to favour some part of the country.
“The proper thing is for us to go back into this different constitution as it was before the war and determined how we are going to leave together for the betterment of all of us.”