Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through its Presidential Campaign Organization has commended Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for its courage to shift the dates of general elections from February 14 and 28 to March 28 and April 11, 2015.
At a press conference today, the Director of the Presidential Campaign Organization, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode said that PDP has already endorsed the shift in the original dates of the election as being in the interest of deepening the nation’s democracy and in the national interest.
“We will like to reiterate our commendation of INEC for showing the courage to shift the poll after acknowledging the fact that its state of preparedness was not 100 percent and also after taking into cognizance the imperative of ensuring adequate security for the electorate and electoral personnel especially in the Northeast zone of the country.”
Fani-Kayode said that because of the shift in election dates, the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, acting in concert and synergy with the PDP, will intensify its campaign in every nook and cranny of the country to sell President Goodluck Jonathan to the electorate and Nigerians in general as the best candidate who should be voted for and elected as president in the March 28 presidential election.
“The campaign will be all-encompassing and robust and it will reach all levels in order to shore up the chances of our various candidates in the elections. We believe that with the commitment by INEC, which has been demonstrated by its readiness to work strictly in line with the advice by the nation’s security agencies, our nation is heading for a general election that is freer, fairer and more transparent than the 2011 elections.
“Our belief is anchored on the international and domestic desire for a credible poll. We therefore encourage and support INEC to do all that they need to do to ensure that we have a credible election that will produce results that are acceptable to all. We are constrained to point out the fact that one of the things that INEC must do is to ensure that it establishes a strategy and process that will result in the equitable and prompt distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to all registered voters who have not collected them up till this time.
“If the front page report in today’s Sunday Vanguard is true, then the Commission must quickly set out to ensure the production of its training manual, recruitment of 700,000 ad-hoc staff, training of presiding officers, deployment of printers for voter registers which are said to still be in Abuja , printing of voter registers by the Resident Electoral Commissioners, provision of full complement of ballot boxes and distribution of the balance of card readers to many states that are yet to get them.
“On our part, we will increase advocacy and sensitisation on the PVC collection because we are not comfortable with the fact that as at the time INEC announced the shift in election dates, 34 percent of eligible voters have not been able to access their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
“Our Campaign Organisation will be ready to collaborate with the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation to support the process of PVCs collection so that no part of the country is seen to have been deliberately manipulated into a position of disadvantage through low percentage rate of PVCs distribution and collection whilst the other part of the country has recorded between 80 and 98 percent collection.
“The credibility, acceptability and success of the forthcoming elections are therefore dependent on two things: firstly 100 percent or just below 100 percent distribution of the PVCs to eligible registered voters so that no-one or no group of people are disenfranchised and secondly the deployment of adequate security forces before, during and after the elections who will ensure that the electorate are able to go out to perform their civic responsibility of voting on the election days.
“These are our legitimate and genuine concerns. We will remain sharply focused on our campaign issues. We will continue to sell the candidature of President Jonathan whose victory at the poll is key to everything we stand for while we will continue to expose the chicanery, the weaknesses and the violent nature of the opposition APC and its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.”
Fani-Kayode said that for APC to insist that the elections should be conducted on February 14th, it is not only dangerously flirting with chaos but also putting the country on the path of confrontation, division, injustice, disaster and destruction.
“We posited that a situation where no less than 34 percent of our people would have been disenfranchised is unacceptable and the fact that the APC was insensitive to that fact speaks volumes.
“All stakeholders in the forthcoming elections should therefore take advantage of this short extension to get their acts together and prepare for the elections. This is all the more so because there will be no room for a further shift of poll date within the ambit of the relevant extant laws.
“On the part of the PDP and its Presidential Campaign Organisation, winning elections is our forte and, as always, we are ready. We wish to reiterate our gratitude to our supporters and once again we wish to encourage them to remain calm and patient. We have nothing to fear because we see victory on the horizon. Our party is strong; our presidential candidate is confident; our cause is just; our God is mighty and our victory is assured. No matter what happens and no matter how long it takes, we shall prevail.” [myad]