All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organisation has alleged moves by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency to stampede the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega to resign, even as it regretted that President Jonathan has on his own, admitted that he has ceased to play his role as the commander-in-chief of the Nigerian armed forces, on account of which he needs to urgently clarify his position under the constitution.
The APC Presidential Campaign Organisation said that the Presidency’s and PDP’s strident and scurrilous castigation of the use of Card Readers for ensuring the integrity of the forthcoming general elections, as being proposed by INEC, is the PDP’s agenda for the manipulation of the electoral process.
In a statement, Director of the Campaign Organisation, Garba Shehu said that the Presidency and PDP’s opposition to the card readers is one of the ploys to get Professor Jega out of the way and subsequently, the appointment of a pliable lackey who will do the hatchet job of stopping the use of the Card Readers.
Garba Shehu said that that the INEC’s decision to use the Card Readers was borne out of the need for ensuring electoral transparency and integrity.
“Aside the huge financial investment involved in the procurement of the Card Readers, the PDP’s desire to hoodwink the Nigerian people on this anti-rigging device, is not just subterranean but an affront on the independence of the electoral body.
“We are equally aware that this is the latest gambit of the ruling Party in its desire to thwart the electoral wishes of majority of Nigerian electorate. We are aware also of the use of its tested and well-oiled rigging machine of unregistered voters and accentuation of same by the use of soldiers that had been specially trained and reserved for that nefarious purpose.
“We have said it that, based on the ruling of the Federal High Court, Sokoto against the use of Soldiers for Election duties, our Party is opposed to the use of soldiers for the Election Days on 28th March and 11th April, 2015.
“We insist that the use of Card Readers for authenticating the propriety of the Permanent Voters’ Cards presented and ultimately, accreditation of Voters, as envisioned by INEC. These, in our estimation as a credible Party, remain the irreducible minimum that must form the basis for the conduct of free, fair, and credible elections on 28th March and 11th April, 2015.
“We call on all Nigerians to remain vigilant and we, on our part, shall remain alive to our responsibility in galvanizing the citizenry for assuring on the virility of the Nigerian nation. Indeed, eternal vigilance is the price of our liberty.”
Meanwhile APC Presidential Campaign Organisation has noted that President Jonathan has on his own, admitted that he has ceased to play his role as the commander-in-chief of the Nigerian armed forces, on account of which he needs to urgently clarify his position under the constitution.
The Campaign Organisation said that Jonathan’s loss of control was quite evident in the media chat which the president hosted on Wednesday, February 11.
“President Jonathan claims that he had no idea about the plans to postpone the elections. Who then gave the command to the service chiefs to write the letter to Jega considering that the NSA’s line of reporting is directly and exclusively to the President? Did they write it without clearance from the commander in chief?”
The Campaign Organisation noted that the service chiefs, at the prompting of the National Security Adviser, made presentations to the Council of State.
“Who authorised them to make that presentation since the President claimed that he was not informed about the shift in the polls date, nay by extension the security issue that was raised by the security chiefs for the postponement of the polls?
“Is the President telling the nation that the top brass of the military can act without his consent? If that is the case, what then is his constitutional responsibility as commander in chief?”
It noted that the situation is troubling for Nigeria and for the country’s democracy, where service chiefs could supposedly act independently of their commander-in-chief.
“Were the president’s appointees acting independently of him or did he give the go ahead to them? What authority does the NSA have to write directly to the INEC Chairman considering that his line of reporting is to the President who appointed him?”
The Campaign Organisation suggested that President Jonathan needed to take whatever action necessary to rectify this anarchy, adding: “either that or he needs to be more honest with Nigerians about his actual role in the election postponement.” [myad]