Influential northern socio-political organization, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF); the umbrella body of northern elders, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the Apex Igbo socio-cultural oraganisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo have condemned the call in some quarters for the postponement of the 2015 general election scheduled for next month.
The two bodies believe that postponing the election would be tantamount to succumbing to the threats by the deadly Boko Haramý sect to destabilize the nation.
They added that any design meant to prevent the expression of popular will in February 2015 under whatever guise or excuse will be rejected and resisted by all Nigerians. ý
“We have made our position known in our recent meeting that election must hold in February,” the Chairman of ACF, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmadu Coomassie, said.
Also speaking in an interview, NEF Secretary, Prof Ango Abdullahi, said: “We at the Northern Elders Forum have said that we are aware of sentiments being canvassed by anti-democratic forces that an unconstitutional interim national government or a similar illegal arrangement should be put in place to stop the forthcoming elections.
“We want to warn in the strongest terms possible that any designs to prevent the expression of popular will in February 2015 under whatever guise or excuse will be rejected and resisted by all Nigerians.
“We fully support the ongoing efforts to eliminate all kinds of threats, including the Boko Haram insurgency. We wish to remind the nation that any effort to postpone the elections, limit its scope or truncate the democratic process will be a resounding victory for Boko Haram. Only enemies of Nigerian people, worse than Boko Haram insurgents, will wish this on our people.
“Therefore, the February elections must hold under the most secure and peaceful conditions possible, and we have no doubt that the administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is in a position to guarantee this, if it wishes.
“Our call is therefore for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to rise to the occasion and prove to Nigerians and the world that he can provide the necessary and enabling environment to conduct credible elections. We expect the President to openly and unequivocally condemn any sentiments or efforts to truncate the political and electoral process.ý”
Also rejecting the call for the postponement of the elections, the Apex Igbo socio-cultural oraganisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, described it as unpatriotic “and cannot be justified by any reasons whatsoever.”
In a press statement issued in Enugu and signed by its caretaker committee chairman, Chief Ralph Obioha, yesterday, Ohanaeze said that rather call for a postponement, the right thing to do was to call on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to resign immediately.
It argued that the slack in the distribution of permanent voter cards (PVCs) exposed Jega’s suspect leadership of INEC.
Ohanaeze said in the terse statement: “Nigeria is being made to look like an unserious entity. If the nation of Zambia could conduct a national election within 90 days of their president’s demise, what excuse can Nigerians tolerate that a body whose business it is to conduct an election and has been at it for the past four years when the last national election was conducted will now be seeking excuses on its inability to distribute PVCs? It is absolutely unacceptable,”