The national security adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to delay the February elections so as to give organisers more time to distribute millions of biometric ID cards to voters.
Dasuki reportedly made the statement during a talk at London think-tank Chatham House, saying that he had discussed the matter with the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and had said a delay within the time allowed by the law would be a good idea.
“That is what we are encouraging at the moment,” he said. The elections will be the first featuring the new biometric card, introduced to guard against fraud that has plagued past polls.
The security adviser said INEC had distributed 30 million cards in the past year but still had another 30 million to hand out, and though the commission had assured him it would achieve this in time for the February date, he still feels it would make more sense to take more time.
He added that there was a 90-day window during which the election could legally take place. Dasuki said it was for INEC and not for him to decide. “What sense does it make to vote THREE months early when there are 30 million cards still with INEC? That’s my position,” Dasuki said.
However, the calls for postponement of the elections have been met with vehement opposition from stakeholders involved, with the spokesman for the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, Lai Mohammed, accusing the government of subterfuge in its calls for postponement. “Why are they not ready? Why should we postpone? We say ‘no’ to postponement,” Lai Mohammed, spokesman of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), told Reuters.
“They know that if they don’t postpone they can’t WIN. They are just terrified.” INEC spokesman Kayode Idowu said there were currently no plans to delay. “It is not a conversation of the commission’s at all. As far as we are talking now, the date is what it is,” Idowu said.
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