Buhari Supporters Warn Jonathan Against Shifting February Elections
• George, Gbajabiamila Differ
MEMBERS of the Buhari Support Organisations (BSO) Friday rose from an emergency meeting in Abuja urging President Goodluck Jonathan to guard against embarking on acts that could undermine the country’s democracy.
Director, Media and Information Directorate, BSO, Dr Chidia Maduekwe, who addressed journalists on behalf of the group at Transcorps Hilton Hotel Abuja, said they were taken aback by suggestions made by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki that the February elections be postponed.
Meanwhile, former Deputy National Chairman (South) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, has supported calls for the postponement of the general elections.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos Friday, George said he would support the call for a shift in the polls to enable Nigerians collect their PVCs.
But the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the Chamber, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that calls for the postponement of the election were cropping up because of President Jonathan’s fear of imminent defeat, noting that it is an afterthought ready to die in the manner of Obasanjo’s third term plot.
The BSO has, however, warned that adhering to such calls could have dire security implications for the country.
Maduekwe said that a call from such a highly placed figure and a close associate of President Jonathan speaks volume of the fact that the PDP does not truly want an open democratic contest in which Nigerians would be allowed to decide who leads them.
The group noted: “This is certainly the high point of the serial breaches to the Abuja Accord by the PDP government. This suggestion is intended to overheat the polity by causing severe disaffection among the generality of the public with attendant disastrous consequences.
“A stitch in time, they say, saves nine. We therefore call on the PDP-led administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to allow the Nigerian people to freely express their choice.
“At this juncture, Mr. President is advised to borrow a leaf from the history of other nations where such truncation of peoples right were affected. Our nation today is undergoing very trying and difficult moments. Consequently, any additional strain on our matrix is uncalled for and the consequences maybe very dire. Nigerians are prepared and ready to cast their votes come February 2015. Any effort to postpone this election will be tantamount to an election rigging in favour of the incumbent.”
George, however, maintained that Dasuki’s call for the postponement of the election was in order.
He said: “The NSA sees things deeper than any of us. So many people have not gotten their PVC’s, even in Lagos and they will be disenfranchised. I have not collected mine. There are logistic problems but calling for a postponement of the election does not mean it will be conducted after May 29.
“The NSA must ensure there is peace in the land. If we have a breather, all well and good, this will give INEC time to distribute the PVC’s. I have no objection if it is done as the NSA has said.”
Stressing that he was yet to collect his PVC even though the INEC has said the distribution should be decentralised to the ward level, George added: “I don’t think they will postpone the elections till after May 29, this year. His (NSA) fears are genuine because the collection of these PVCs is important.”
Gbajabiamila said: “This was the plot all along. The NSA has no role to play in the distribution of PVCs. Whatever they do and however they do it they cannot go against the provisions of the constitution, which is sacrosanct and must be obeyed.
“Elections remain a democratic process with a four-year cycle under our constitution. The lifespan and the life of this government ends on May this year, unless the constitution is amended. And of course we all know what happened the last time an attempt was made to amend the constitution for the purpose of extending the tenure of a sitting government.”