The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has warned President Goodluck Jonathan not to dare remove the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, ahead of next month’s general elections. Spokesman of the forum Professor Ango Abdullahi gave the warning today at a press conference in Bauchi where he stressed that sacking Jega at this material time will be a recipe for disaster.
Ango who was joined at the briefing by Alhaji Mohammed Bello Kirfi (Wazirin Bauchi ) said: “With regards to Jega’s tenure any attempt at this last minute by this government or its agency to remove Jega is a clear message that this government is determined to rig an election in which they see Jega as an impediment simply because he thinks that the Commission must follow the rules for a free and fair and credible election. This is the message they should be ready to send to the world.”
On the postponement of the general election, he added that for several months now, INEC has been consistent and emphatic on its readiness to organise and conduct the 2015 elections in February saying the reasons given were “flimsy, clumsy and indefensible.”
On the excuse of insecurity, the Northern elders viewed it as “fake because only a small fraction of the security personnel in the country are directly engaged in the war against insurgency within the north east enclave of the country.
“We also know that even in countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan , Sri Lanka and more recently Afghanistan where full scale wars were still raging when they decided that election could still be held and indeed were held”
He raised the alarm that the ruling elite was hatching plans to scuttle the 2015 general election and derail the regular democratic institutions from functioning to serve the needs of Nigeria.
Among threat to democracy he highlighted include “the use of soldiers to rig the recent election in Ekiti, massive use of public funds to bribe voters and electoral officials, intimidation and harassment of opposition in Rivers, Kano, Lagos, refusal to accept modernisation of the balloting process by the sitting government”
The forum affirmed its earlier stance that the 2015 elections must hold within the time lines allowed by law adding that by May 29, 2015 ” there must be new administrations at the federal and state levels based on credible, free and fair and transparent elections”
Ango maintained there is no room for any fabrication called interim government saying it is inconsistent with the 1999 constitution.
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