Sixteen political parties in Nigeria have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the general elections slated for February 14 and 28, threatening to boycott the elections if their wishes are not heeded.
In addition, five of the 14 presidential candidates signed a joint statement urging the electoral commission to postpone the elections to a “more appropriate” date.
The parties involved are: the United Democratic Party (UDP), Citizen Peoples Party (CPP), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Action Alliance (AA), Peoples Democratic Congress (PDC) (ACPN), Labour Party (LP), (MPPP), United Party of Nigeria (UPN), Alliance for Democracy (AD), (ADC), (ACD) Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) and Independent Democrat (ID).
The parties argued that they would lose the presidency if the elections are held in February even as they also cited insecurity and inadequate distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
Saying that “some dangerous trends, which if not checked may negatively and adversely affect our democracy,” the 16 parties called on the government to take necessary steps to provide adequate security for Nigerians to go out and collect their PVCs in order to be able to exercise their civic and constitutional duty.
The five minor-party presidential candidates who endorsed the postponement are Godson Okoye (UDP), Chief Sam Okoye (CPP), Prince C.O Allagoe (PPN), Tunde Anifowose (AA) and Ganiu Galadima (ACPN). It is unclear why 14 parties said they endorsed the postponement, but nine presidential candidates did not.
Earlier in the day, the powerful All Progressives Congress, in two separate statements in Abuja and Lagos, warned against efforts and conspiracies to pre-empt the elections. [myad]