by Segun Odeleye
What started as a whisper has now turned into a full blown campaign as 16 out of Nigeria’s 26 political parties have now endorsed a call for the 2015 general elections to be postponed.
The parties hinged their call on the state of insecurity, the issue of distribution of permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) and the exodus of people from the cities to their villages.
The call for election postponement also got the backing of five of the 14 presidential – Godson Okoye (UDP), Chief Sam Okoye (CPP), Prince C.O Allagoe (PPN), Tunde Anifowose (AA) and Ganiu Galadima (ACPN).
The 16 parties which endorse postponement are the United Democratic Party (UDP), Citizen Peoples Party (CPP), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Action Alliance (AA), Peoples Democratic Congress (PDC), Allied Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Labour Party (LP), Mega Progressive People’s Party (MPPP), United Party of Nigeria (UPN), Alliance for Democracy (AD), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) and Independent Democrat (ID).
The political parties, in a resolution calling for the postponement, said: “Fellow Nigerians, we the concerned leaders of political parties, in the run up to the 2015 February general election, have observed some dangerous trends, which if not checked may negatively and adversely affect our democracy.”
They threatened to boycott the elections if their position was not respected.
According to them it is wiser for INEC to shift the poll to sometime in March or April. They argued that such a shift would still not be against the provisions of Sections 25 and 26 of the Electoral Act.
“We are not urging INEC to do anything that is unlawful, illegal or unconstitutional. It is unfortunately becoming clear by the day that most Nigerians appear not to be ready for election but are ready for violence. This shift in date, which does not in any way contravene the provisions of Section 25 and 26 of the Electoral Act will afford INEC enough time to distribute the remaining PVCs so that at least more than 98 per cent of the registered voters in the country would have collected their PVCs.
“In this regard the concerned political leaders should offer to assist the INEC in all necessary ways to ensure that these PVCs are collected on time for the rescheduled election.”
One of the representatives of the political parties said they took the decision against the position of the chairman of Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC).
According to him, the IPAC Chairman, Dr. Tanko Yunusa, had overruled them at the last meeting with INEC. The party chieftain alleged that because the IPAC chairman has an alliance with the All Progressives Congress (APC), he insisted that the elections must hold as scheduled.
Okoye, who read the statement on behalf of the political parties, also expressed disappointment over the visit of the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, to only two presidential candidates and that the presidential debate centred on the APC presidential candidate, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan.