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APC CONDEMNS JONATHAN’S MEETING WITH JEGA
Nigeria’s leading opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has condemned President Goodluck Jonathan’s summoning of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, chairman, Attahiru Jega, to a National Security Council meeting that was not attended by other political parties in Abuja on Tuesday, as a scheme intended to compromise INEC’s integrity.
The party stated Wednesday in a press statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Lai Mohammed, in Abuja, that it is wrong for the President, who himself is a candidate in the forthcoming elections, to be summoning the electoral umpire at will, especially when such meetings are populated by his appointees.
“It is like the referee in a football match meeting with key officials of one of the teams ahead of the match. This is against the spirit of transparency and fairness and must stop forthwith,” the APC observed.
“Had the representatives of other political parties apart from the PDP (the President is the leader of the PDP) attended the meeting, the widespread speculation that Jega’s life and job were threatened if he fails to drop the use of the card reader, as well as circulating reports that he will be removed before Saturday, would not have happened,” the statement read.
The party also described as “irrelevant”, the fact that the meeting was purported to be aimed at briefing security chiefs on the preparations for the polls, asserting that since all the leaders of other political parties were excluded from the meeting, the ruling PDP and its presidential candidate were clearly seeking to gain undue advantage over others ahead of the elections.
The APC insisted that all briefings to the INEC chairman concerning the elections must have in attendance the representatives of all the political parties scheduled to participate in the elections.
It also condemned clandestine meetings allegedly taking place between some key presidency and INEC officials with a view to rigging the elections, urging the presidency to keep a respectable distance from electoral officials as expected if indeed a free, fair, credible and peaceful election is the goal at this crucial period.
Addressing the recent agitations for Jega’s removal by ethnic militias, the party stated that the presidency’s alleged sponsorship of ethnic militias, including MASSOB and OPC, is intended to make the country so unsafe before the polls that members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, who are supposed to serve as electoral officials, will insist that they can no longer participate in the elections.
”This will simply truncate the elections and trigger a constitutional crisis, the exact scenario being plotted by the Jonathan Administration and the PDP to allow them to either perpetuate themselves in office or install an interim government,” the party alleged.
According to the APC, another booby trap on the path of holding the elections as rescheduled are the pending court cases against the use of the card reader by INEC.
“Nigerians should note that nothing is yet guaranteed as far as the holding of the rescheduled elections is concerned. The Jonathan Administration and the PDP are still shopping for a court judgement to declare the use of the card reader unconstitutional, just because they are now painfully aware that Nigerians have rejected them and their party.
“We are therefore calling on all our compatriots to be more vigilant in the next few days to the elections. We are also alerting local and foreign observers, and the international community, to the ongoing shenanigans by the Jonathan Administration and the PDP to scuttle the polls,” the party stated.