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22 Political Party Call For Polls Postponement In Borno
By Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
About 22 political parties under the aegis of Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, in Borno State have called for the postponement of elections in the state till September this year, calling for the setting up of an interim government to run the affairs of the state at the expiration of the tenure of the present administration on May 29, 2015.
Addressing a press conference in Maiduguri on Thursday, the Borno State chairman of the group, Babagana Musa, displayed the signatures of 23 party chairmen who were in agreement with the group’s position concerning the proposed re-scheduling of the polls, some of whom he claimed were present at the conference.
Musa stated that the decision was taken by all political parties in the state except five which include All Progressives Congress, APC, Kowa Party, All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Africa Alliance, AA.
Claiming that the decision was reached at after a careful consideration of the situation in Borno State which indicate that election cannot be held in the troubled state, Musa stated that other issues such as non- distribution of the permanent voters cards in 175 polling units in the state which represent approximately 500,000 people yet to get their PVCs, necessitated the call for another shift in the scheduled election dates.
Other reasons given include the alleged personal insecurity of opposition party officials in the state; vandalisation of opposition party facilities and the indecent activities of the youth vigilante group.
Alleging that the thugs sponsored by the state government have been on the prowl for opposition politicians, Musa called for increased security presence in the state while also underscoring the need to relocate internally displaced persons back to their homes before embarking on elections.
“Because of the foregoing reasons and others not mention here, we are calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, being the electoral umpire, to extend the conduct of the 2015 general elections for six months i.e.from 28th March to 26th September, 2015, the parties said.
The group also called on the National Assembly to legitimise such a postponement by passing a resolution for INEC to effect the extension.
“We call on the National Assembly to set in motion for a resolution to constitute a government of state unity on 29th May, 2015 at the expiration of the incumbent administration so that all good people of Borno state will have a sense of belonging,” the group demanded.
It also urged security chiefs to ensure, within the extended 6 months period, safe and conducive environment for all political parties in the state to thrive in Borno State.
Responding swiftly to the call for another shift in the poll dates, the APC has called for the arrest of the chairmen of the 22 political parties who signed the statement, recommending that they be tried for treason.
According to the party, going by President Goodluck Jonathan’s recent declaration that calls for interim government are treasonable felony, the chairmen deserved to be arrested immediately and tried for treason.
A press statement released by the chairman of APC in Borno State, Ali Bukar Dalori said that the 23 parties were “acting the script of a former governor of the state who is desperate to takeover power at all cost even if means, sending the state into extinction.”
“We strongly believe that the call by the 23 parties for elections in Borno to be shifted till September, 2015 and for Interim Government to be put in place by May 29, 2015, is in furtherance of a blind desire to implement an agenda of PDP that is aligned to an Ex-Governor of Borno who is hell bent on ensuring elections do not hold in Borno State by hook or crook due to his fear of massive defeat for his anointed candidates given the evident popularity of the APC in the State.”
“The 23 political parties, which only exist on papers, are mere tools in the hands of the former governor. However, we are also excited by their calls for postponement because in politics, calls for postponement of election is conceding defeat because only those who see defeat coming their way, try to avoid elections,” the APC stated.
The party noted that “there is no portion of the Nigerian Constitution that gives room for a democratically elected government whether at the State or Federal Level to be toppled through a civilian coup they are advocating for.”