Few days to the 2015 elections, the former governor of Kaduna State, Mr Balarabe Musa has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the general elections on grounds of insecurity and inability of a large number of Nigerians to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
He made the call while speaking at a forum organised by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in Kaduna.
Musa also pointed out that the manner with which the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), are going about their campaigns, gives bad signals that the elections will not be peaceful, free and fair, if they hold in February.
He warned of a repetition of the 2011 post election violence in some parts of the country where scores of people were killed, adding that if INEC goes ahead to conduct the 2015 polls on the 14th and 28 of February a repeat will be on the cards.
Stating that the Nigerian Constitution gives room for postponement of elections, the former governor is advocating for a National Unity Government whereby all political parties will be fully represented.
He further alleged that the ruling PDP will capitalise on the trend of violence witnessed at campaign rallies across the country to rig the elections if INEC goes ahead to conduct the exercise.
Some Nigerians with disabilities have asked political parties to keep their promises of inclusiveness in the political process before and after the elections.
At a forum organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for political parties and persons with disabilities, participants with disabilities complained that political parties had made promises in the past elections which were forgotten soon after the polls.
However, the Electoral body had promised to ensure that they were not disenfranchised during the polls, with the chairman of INEC saying the electoral body had made adequate arrangements for them to participate.
As part of activities leading to the 2015 general elections, the INEC had been organising forums to sensitise Nigerians on the polls.
This time it was a meeting between political parties and persons with disabilities to discuss their participation in political activities.
Political parties, one after the other reeled out laudable programmes, indicating how had carried persons with disabilities along.
The National Chairman of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, peter ameh and a representative of the chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Danimoh Salihu, were some of the persons that spoke to the persons with disabilities at the meeting.
For the persons with disabilities, all seem to be talk and no action. They said it was a normal tactics employed by political parties during elections and would be forgotten after the polls.
The National President of National Union of Persons with Disabilities, Nasir Argungu and the National President, Joint National Union of Persons with Disabilities, Ekaette Umoh, emphasised the need for the political parties to keep their promises after they had been elected into offices, saying they would hold the politicians and INEC to their words, with the hope that it would be matched with actions.
It is expected that the meeting would ensure that Nigerians with disabilities are not disenfranchised in next month’s polls and subsequent elections.
President Goodluck Jonathan has picked a nomination form at the PDP Headquarters, Wadata House, in Abuja, to run for a second term under the People’s Democratic Party.
The ceremony attracted top government functionaries and party big wigs.
During his speech, President Jonathan thanked all those who contributed to the cost of purchasing the PDP nomination form, a total of 22 million naira, including the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), the National Executive Council, PDP Governors’ Forum and others.
At the close of his speech, which signalled the end of the ceremony, he proceeded to a closed-door meeting with the Party Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu.
In an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s Chukwuma Onyebusi, the President said that the event meant it was time “to do more”.
He noted that his and the party’s committment was to take the country to the next level. “We have set up the structure. We will never go back. We will move faster”, he promised.
Many supporters expressed satisfaction with the President’s decision to pick up the PDP nomination form, including newly elected Ekiti Governor, Ayo Fayose, who said that “Mr President is a party man. He believes in this party. He is living by example”.
A former Director of State Security Services, Mike Ejiofor, has predicted a decrease in the activities of the Boko Haram sect in 2014 as political activities increases and the nation gears up for state elections in Osun and Ekiti States as well as the forthcoming 2015 general elections.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Ejiofor said: “I’ll tell you outright from forecasts, the activities of Boko Haram are going to go down with the rise of political activities,” he said, insisting that the sect is politically motivated.
The appointment of new Service Chiefs, including the Chief of Defence Staff is also no guarantee that “the activities of Boko Haram will go underground,” he said, faulting the new CDS’ promise to bring an end to the insurgency in before the 2015 elections.
“I believe he should have settled down to study the situation,” he said.
Commenting on the state of the nation’s security, Ejiofor stressed that progress was being made. “In 2013 for instance, we made a lot of progress in terms of security. You can see that the issue of Boko Haram is now restricted to Borno in particular, with occasional splashes in Yobe and some parts of the North East.”
The current situation, he said, “is unlike what we had in 2011 – 2012 when it was bombing everywhere. You had in Kaduna and Kano. It was all over, even in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
“I think we made substantial progress in 2013,” he said but stressed that there were “spill overs from 2013 to 2014.”
According to him, the greatest challenge Nigeria will face in 2014 is on the political front because of preparations for general elections. “I would concentrate more on the political threats.”
“The outcome of the governorship election coming up in Osun and Ekiti states is very critical to the general elections coming up in 2015.
“We should worry as a matter of fact” he said, referring to developments in the polity part of which he said was the mass defections from the PDP to the APC.
According to him, “PDP to Nigerians is just like what the Catholic Church is to the Christendom” and it is healthy for the nations democracy when politicians move in and out of political parties.
On the forthcoming elections, he said: “We should expect some level of violence this year in terms of political activities”.
“INEC should put all they have together and make sure that Osun and Ekiti elections come out clean. At least they should be able to score at least 80 to 90 per cent because we would be deceiving ourselves if we say we expect 100 per cent.”
On INEC’s decision not to conduct elections in the three states currently under emergency rule if security threats persist, Mr Ejifor mentioned the possibility of elections in the state based on the success of local government elections in Yobe state.
He also drew attention to comments made by certain individuals concerning the forthcoming general elections. “My worry is the utterances being made by some elders that would tend to compound our already existing problems.”
“Politically, if we don’t moderate our utterances, it’s going to create a lot of problems.”
He berated elder statesmen who have been making comments that would generate conflict in the polity.
On the arrest of Mr Nasir El-Rufai by the DSS for making inciting comments, Mr Ejiofor said there were bound to be reactions from the people because other individuals had made similar comments and were not seen to be called to order.
He said: “Government should be commended for the tolerance of opposition” as previous administrations had been hostile towards critics.
He further blamed some print media for its way of reporting news which “generates a lot of friction when there is none.”
“Some of our print media are part of the problems we are facing in our security challenges,” he said, citing ambiguous headlines as examples.
He called on the media to “play down on some of the security threats.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has vowed to prosecute over 93,000 people in Anambra state involved in multiple voters registration ahead of the state governorship election.
The chairman of the commission, Professor Attahiru Jega told a news conference in Abuja that the prosecution of those found to have done multiple registrations would serve as a deterrent to other people with the same motives in other states.
While reacting to the ruling by a federal high court in Abuja which voided the deregistration of 28 political parties, Professor Jega assured that the battle is not over, that the court cannot overturn the deregistration decision and plans are in the pipeleine to appeal the court judgment which overturned it’s deregistration of some political parties in the country.
And to check electoral fraud, the INEC chairman said the introduction of the permanent voter cards before the end of the year is one strategy that the INEC is deploying to further checkmate electoral fraud in the system ahead of the 2015 elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked allegations that the new registration fee of N1 million for intending political parties was a ploy to scuffle smaller parties. Speaking as a guest on a Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, Kayode Idowu, spokesman to the INEC Chairman said though the constitution did not stipulate the amount to be charged as party registration fee, it however gives the electoral body the prerogative to fix a price.
Speaking further on the plans of the electoral body for future elections, Mr Idowu said the commission is learning from previous elections and is perfecting its mode of operation.