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Oshiomhole, NBA, group differ over alleged move to shift polls

By Bertram Nwannekanma, Yetunde Ayobami Ojo (Lagos) and Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu (Benin City)   |   25 January 2015   |   9:10 pm  

EDO State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) at the weekend kicked against calls by some persons for the postponement of next month’s general elections, saying doing so without just and reasonable cause will adversely affect our standing in the international community and cause severe damage to the foundations of our democracy.

  Oshiomhole, who spoke at the palace of Otaru of Igarra, Oba Adeche Saiki where he presented the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) vying to represent the party at both the federal and state legislatives chambers, said: “The issues are very clear. They have seen it and are now calling for the postponement of the February 14 elections. You cannot postpone the evil day. Nigeria must go for a peaceful election and the election will be peaceful. When God has decreed, no man can do otherwise, when your time is up, you can’t postpone it.

  “What we need now is a leader with courage. The courage to stand for Nigeria and that is why after trying PDP for 16 years, we believe we need Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to take over and secure our country so we can live our life.”

   The NBA, in a statement released by its President, Augustine Alegeh (SAN), said that the twin-issues of the difficulties associated with the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and the conduct of elections in the northeastern states of the country upon which the alleged call for postponement of the elections was based are not new issues that would justify the call for a postponement of the elections so late in the day. 

  The NBA president rather urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to find better ways of resolving difficulties currently being experienced in the collection of PVCs by putting in place a system for collection of PVCs at the location of the polling units or extending the period for collection of PVCs. 

  Meanwhile, a human rights and pro-democracy group, Awake Nigeria Movement (ANM), has urged the INEC to adopt the concept of collective sponsorship of candidates to positions of authority and postpone the February 14 general elections.

  The group’s National Co-ordinator, Mr. Akanni Iromini, who made this known in Lagos yesterday at a one-day open discussion on the state of nation to mark the group’s fifth anniversary, said collective sponsorship will create awareness and followership that will always ask question on accountability, transparency and good governance thereby making elected officials take their oaths of office with seriousness, and will end the indebtness of elected leaders to various interest groups, agencies and individual both financially and morally.

  The governor continued: “When Gen. Buhari was in power, the war against indiscipline was felt everywhere. Nigerians have to make a very bold decision; we must make Nigeria work. When Gen. Buhari was a commanding officer in the military and some extremists rose up around Kano, he led a squad and pursued them as far as Chad.

  “Those are the kind of leaders we need now. Leaders that will confront issues of security squarely, not to lament. Leaders don’t lament. You don’t change your wife’s condition by joining her to cry; wife is crying, husband is crying, children are crying, who then will fix the issues? A man has to come out, this election is about our survival”, he said.

  Oshiomhole, who decried the present security challenges facing the territorial integrity, said: “We now have Nigerians who are refugees in their own land. So, even to secure the territorial integrity of Nigeria, PDP has shown gross incompetence and today, insurgents are controlling a number of our local councils. So, the issues this year is about our survival.

  “You must always remember where we are coming from. For us to make good use of our tomorrow, we must interrogate our yesterday. A country that was the pride of Africa, a country that was in the frontline in the fight against apartheid and discrimination has today been reduced to a laughing stock among the comity of nations even by African standard.



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