The All Progressives Congress (APC), Rivers State Chapter, has described the last-minute postponement of the February 2015 polls as a criminal ploy to derail the country’s nascent democracy. The party in a statement by its State Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, described the news of the shift of the elections from February 14th and 28th to March 28th and April 11th as a rude shock and the reason given for the action by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as untenable.
Ikanya said in the statement issued Tuesday in Port Harcourt: “We are shocked beyond words that after repeated assurances by INEC of its readiness to conduct the elections, the commission succumbed to pressures from a fading and unpopular Presidency to shift the polls, giving the lame excuse that the army said that they would not provide security on the two days that the elections would be held! To us, this is a very stupid excuse as INEC is fully aware of the High court judgment in the case of the illegal use of the army to rig the Ekiti gubernatorial election in favour of a dying PDP, that the army will no longer be used for any election in Nigeria. How come that the same army that will no longer be used for election is being used as an excuse to postpone an election that was to take place in few days’ time?”
The Rivers APC Chairman noted that Presidential Spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe, and the Presidency itself confidently predicted about the election postponement 26 hours before it was formally announced by INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega stating the same dates that the INEC Chairman announced to the world as the new dates for the elections. “This clearly indicates that INEC was either arm-twisted by the Presidency and PDP to shift the polls or is deliberately conniving with them to push an agenda detrimental to our democracy,” Ikanya said.
He however declared the poll shift is a temporary setback as “Nigerians have resolved to vote out the visionless President Goodluck Jonathan, whose leadership has caused a lot of harm to the unity and progress of our dear nation.” Continuing, Ikanya said: “We wish to reiterate that we will not tolerate any further attack on our democracy by a group of people already rejected by the Nigerian electorate but who want to cling to power by all cost. Let us emphasise that this shift is only a shift of the date on which Nigerians will vote out the clueless Jonathan Presidency which squandered a golden opportunity to write its name in gold but instead created enormous opportunities for its cronies to plunder and loot our common patrimony with impunity and bring our country’s economy to its knees.
“We join our Leader and Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, to appeal to our numerous supporters to be calm and resolute in our campaign as our salvation is now nearer than before.”
Rivers APC also strongly condemned the alleged moves by the Presidency to replace Prof. Jega with a pliable Southerner who would be used to rig the 2015 elections. “We will like those behind these sinister moves not to waste their time, as it will not work. As much as we condemn Jega for allowing the hawks in the Presidency to pressurise him to postpone elections which foreign observers were already in the country to observe, we will not tolerate his sack for any reason whatsoever! Those behind this evil plot are stretching their luck too far and it will certainly backfire against these enemies of democracy,” the party said.
It commended the US, Canada and UK governments, as well as other international bodies for standing by Nigeria and condemning the poll shift and pleaded with them to continue to mount pressure on the Jonathan administration to conduct credible elections and unfailingly hand over power on May, 29th, 2015.