Former Military President General Abdulsalami Abubakar said yesterday that the manner in which the country will handle the 2015 general elections will determine if Nigeria will remain a united and stable country.
The former Head of State said that the country was already divided within fault lines, with politicians ready to exploit them without noble objectives.
As political parties trade allegations over who has breached the law in embarking on pre-emptive political campaigns ahead of the 2015 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that all the political parties are guilty of the offence.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos Monday, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the commission had found out that almost all the parties were guilty of the offence and had been warned about the consequences of breaching the electoral regulations.
The South-South Forum of the Peoples Democratic Party has told President Goodluck Jonathan that now is the most appropriate time for him to declare his ambition for a second term in 2015. The forum said this on Tuesday in Lagos at an event to canvass support for the President’s second term ambition.
The PDP chairman in Lagos State, Mr. Olatunji Shelle; former Minister of Works, Chief Adeseye Ogunlewe; and others at the occasion also called on members of the forum in the state to vote for the PDP in both the presidential and governorship elections next year.
Jonathan has remained silent on whether he would seek second term in office or not but analysts have said that the President’s body language has shown clearly that he would seek another term in office during the 2015 general elections. He said during his media chat on Monday that making a declaration of his ambition at the moment could create problems in the polity. But the South-South PDP Forum on Tuesday urged the President to take advantage of his “record-breaking achievement of convening a national conference,” to declare his desire for second term.
Chairman of the forum’s Board of Trustees, Chief Vincent Amadi, said, “My charge to us is to do everything possible to make the national conference a success by encouraging the President and urging him on positively. More importantly, he should seize the moment and take full advantage of his constitutional right as a first term President. Consequently, there couldn’t be a better time for him to declare for second term in the office than now. This will enable him to kickstart and pilot the implementation of the declarations at the national conference.”
Chairman of the forum, Mr. Sunday Ekanem, who said Jonathan was deserving of being voted for second term, also expressed the determination of the forum to ensure that the PDP wins the governorship election in Lagos State in 2015.
Ekanem said, “South-South PDP is not only concerned about President Goodluck Jonathan and his victory but also the general success of the party at the polls in Lagos. Therefore, we want to place here on record that we have resolved to work tirelessly to ensure the enthronement of PDP at Alausa come 2015.”
Shelle said those who defected from the party were those who did not want Jonathan to achieve his second term ambition.
“Those who don’t want the President’s second term to be possible have left the party. Many who left are also coming back. Before the end of the year, we are going to open the floodgate of membership in the state,” Shelle said.
The All Progressives Congress on Sunday warned the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Police not to stop its members from campaigning for the 2015 elections, should they decide to start now.
The party said the warning became necessary in the light of what it said was the go-ahead given to President Goodluck Jonathan andthe ruling Peoples Democratic Party, to begin a nationwide campaign well ahead of time.
Interim National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this in a telephone interview, with one of our correspondents in Abuja. He explained that the party had over the last few weeks drawn the attention of all government agencies as well as INEC, to the fact that President Jonathan had been in the forefront of those flouting the electoral body’s guidelines on election campaigns. Mohammed said by going round the country to hold campaign rallies and making clear campaign promises, the President had destroyed the moral authority of INEC or the police to enforce any law with respect to the elections.
He said, “I can assure you, we will demand equal treatment and since Mr. President can be allowed to go and campaign in Sokoto, to go and campaign in Owerri then we are sounding a notice to both INEC and Police that any attempt to deprive us of similar opportunities will be met with consequences. We have been trying to draw the attention of everybody it started with Bauchi, then Sokoto from Sokoto to Owerri and this is the President of Nigeria who is supposed to be an embodiment of the rule of law. In the interest of peace, fairness and equity, INEC should not disturb us whenever we also start our campaign.”
The party explained that one did not need to be a rocket scientist to know that what the President was doing was campaign. It said it would not have been so disturbed if it were to be just PDP chieftains violating INEC regulations, but that when the President of the country who swore to uphold the rule of law and the constitution was “at the head of this kind of shenanigans then its spells doom for the country.”
In separate interviews with one of our correspondents, civil society organisations under the aegis of the Partners for Electoral Reform, have asked INEC to inspire confidence in Nigerians as the nation approaches 2015.
Members of the coalition include — Centre for Policy Advocacy and Leadership Development; Forward in Action for Education, Poverty and Malnutrition; Trade Union Congress of Nigeria; and Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement.
The chairman of PER and Convener of Say No Campaign (Nigeria), Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, said the PDP was clearly violating INEC provisions with respect to electoral campaigns with its state rallies.
He said, “We keep making the point that the Electoral management body, INEC must conduct itself in a manner that inspires confidence in the electorate ahead of the 2015 general elections by manifestly and effectively policing every aspect of elections and electoral process. On the other hand the position party (PDP) cannot continue to act with impunity by finding dubious ingenious ways to infract on the laws of the land.”
The Executive Secretary of Anti-Corruption Network and a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dino Melaye, said the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega should resign because INEC was behaving like a parastatal of the PDP. “INEC is a parastatal of the PDP. They cannot question their masters. We will be ready to fight INEC in 2015. JEGA should resign. He is not capable of conducting a free and fair election,” he alleged.
Also speaking, a legal practitioner and civil rights activist, Mr. Ebun Olu- Adegboruwa, said “As the electoral umpire, INEC must provide a level playing ground for all the parties, treat them equally and give a sense of belonging to all the parties.”
Ambassador Gabriel Chukwuma Oyibode is the founder and chairman of Amb. Gabriel Chukwuma Etaoghenevwegba Oyibode foundation. In this interview urged the Nigerian populace to support President Goodluck Jonathan.
When asked about his view of the statement released by
Alhaji Adamu Muazu, the new PDP chairman, that the five defected Governors should come back to PDP, he said, ”
It’s a good stride, I also urge the defected governors and party members to come back to PDP if possible; a kingdom that is divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore there is an absolute need for reconciliation. The Nigerian state is a project instituted by God.
Nigerians should eschew violence and politics of bitterness and seek peace for sustainable development. Everybody must realize that we need to build a united country because what we have now is an agglomeration of nation states. There is strength in unity. Therefore, we should all put aside our racial differences and ethnicities and pursue a common goal.”
Frictions had long been expected in many state chapters of the All Progressives Congress, APC as a result of the melting of strange elements. While many other states are still containing their issues, the frictions in Nasarawa State seem unending.
The first sign of crisis in the newly formed All Progressives Congress, APC in Nasarawa State was not long in coming. It came on the waves of the recently conducted primary elections for the nomination of party candidates for the forthcoming local government elections.
The hope that Nigeria will hold a successful transitional election next year will go up in smoke, unless the Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gets its act right with the two governorship polls coming up in Osun and Ekiti states later this year. This is the submission of former Petroleum Resources Minister, Prof. Tam David-West, in an interview he granted The Sun on the state of the nation.
As the events leading to Nigeria’s 2015 elections gradually unfold, the governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have criticised the election timetable recently released by INEC, stating that it was induced by the presidency.
In his response to this criticism, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, declared that the timetable announced by the commission was informed by rational and logical considerations, not sentimental or ulterior motivations.
INEC in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, stated that the commission was mindful of its own operations and in the interest of worldwide best practices has decided to conduct the national and state elections on different days: the national elections coming first.
The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges has been directed by the members of the House of Representatives to investigate an allegation that defected members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, were induced with a bribe of $1 million to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.