PRESS STATEMENT

We have observed with concern, very disturbing reports in the media regarding the forthcoming elections which were postponed by 6 weeks from the earlier scheduled date.

 

It is reported that the PDP and some vested interest groups are against the use of permanent voters’ cards (PVCs). PVCs are designed and meant to prevent or reduce incidences of electoral malpractices. PVCs along with card readers were used successfully in the last elections in Ghana. Precisely, the use of both ensure that only the rightful owners of the cards use them in voting, therefore reducing incidences of election rigging and other malpractices. It is conceded that the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) prohibits the use of electronic voting machine but it doesn’t prohibit the use of PVCs and card readers for accreditation/verification of eligible voters. We therefore call on all to endorse and stand by their use in the forthcoming elections.

 

Second, the national security adviser (NSA), Mr Sambo Dasuki was quoted in the media assuring that elections will hold on 28 March as scheduled. We make bold to say that the duty of the NSA is to advise the President on security matters pure and simple. Having an NSA assuring that elections will hold is ultra vires; it is not only unprofessional and smacks of impunity. Only INEC, the Independent National Electoral Commission has the powers to fix election dates and assure that elections would hold, and not anyone else. The NSA should desist forthwith from openly dabbling on electoral matters thereby creating confusion.

 

Third, President Jonathan during a live TV broadcast on 11 February, 2015averred that, since he appointed the INEC chairman, he has the powers to fire him at will. No, the President has no such powers to fire, remove or ‘suspend’ the INEC chairman without recourse to the Senate. We all must have a respect for the rule of law.

 

Fourth, a spokesman for a presidential campaign group made personal attacks on the INEC chairman, accusing him of associating with a political party, without proof. Certainly, an INEC chairman should not only be a disinterested party and should be seen to be so. If he is not, it should be a matter of grave concern to all. But alleging, and asserting without proof is tantamount to blackmail, and causing disaffection, and eroding confidence in the electoral umpire and indeed the entire electoral process. This is unacceptable.

 

We call on all Political parties and groups to be circumspect in their use of words. The good of the fatherland should always be the first and overriding interest.

 

We urge all Nigerians that in the next few weeks the watchword should be: Vigilance; for eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’. 

 

Surely we cannot afford to get it wrong at this time

 

Signed:



Voting Right Movement

a project under FLORENCE OZOR FOUNDATION



Twitter: @vrmnigeria

Email: info@vrmnigeria.org

Website: http://www.vrmnigeria.org

Facebook: Voting RIGHT Movement






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