Three weeks to the Nigerian Presidential Election, there are speculations that the polls may be postponed. Plans by President Goodluck Jonathan and his team to scuttle the general elections scheduled for February have come to light, with National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki openly calling for postponement of the elections.
Dasuki spoke at a Chattam House lecture in London, offering the excuse that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has not distributed Permanent Voters Cards across the country as was expected.
Dasuki spoke at London think-tank Charham House. He was quoted to have said that that Nigeria should delay elections planned for 14 February to give organisers more time to distribute millions of cards to voters.
Dasuki said he had discussed the matter with the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, 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 as quoted by Reuters.
“It costs you nothing, it’s still within the law,” Dasuki said he had told the INEC chairman.
“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, Reuters reported.
Several months ago, speculation became rife that President Goodluck Jonathan was reluctant to hold national elections because his popularity had dwindled considerably and he feared losing the election.
In the last few days, as the popularity of General Muhammadu Buhari for the presidency has grown, Mr. Jonathan has spent vast sums of money mobilizing people to call for the postponement of the elections.
INEC spokesperson, Kayode Idowu told reporters today that INEC was not aware of Col. Dasuki’s suggestion, and that the elections will hold as scheduled.
Several sources connected to the presidency disclosed that President Jonathan wants the elections to be postponed for at least six months, a period that will enable him to appoint a new INEC chairman of his liking to oversee the elections.
Professor Attahiru Jega’s tenure expires in July 2015.
With Jega out of the way, Jonathan would appoint another INEC chairman who would further postponement of the election.
Close sources stated that President Jonathan is seriously considering an “Interim Government of National Unity” that would elongate his tenure till 2017. That would mean he spends eight years in power as President, the equivalent of two terms.
In 2011 as he assumed office, his first effort was to call for a new six-year term arrangement, which was shot down by Nigerians. He also recently attempted to smuggle in a new constitution by the back door through the National Conference.