Don't Expect Free, Fair Elections Next year — AC


The Action Congress (AC) has warned Nigerians not to expect free, fair and credible elections next year, saying there is enough evidence on ground to show that the presidency, the National Assembly and the PDP have reached an unholy synergy to ensure that the votes of Nigerians will not count again next year.

”It is becoming increasingly clear by the day that President Goodluck Jonathan has sold Nigerians and the international community a dummy with his ceaseless promises to organise credible polls next year, as there is nothing on ground – beyond the widely-acclaimed appointment of Prof. Attahiru Jega as INEC Chairman, to suggest that the Jonathan administration can organise credible polls,” the party said in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

It said the recent Constitutional amendment, in particular Sections 132 and 187 compelling elections into the offices of the President and Governors not later than January 2011, has made it a fait accompli for INEC to use the existing, discredited voters’ register for next year’s polls, because it has ensured there will be no time for the compilation of a fresh register.

”The Constitutional amendment was deliberately delayed so that it will leave little or no time for INEC to compile a fresh voters’ register. The Presidency may try to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians by saying it was not privy to the timing of the amendment, and that it was carried out by the National Assembly. But Nigerians know that this is all a grand orchestra featuring the Presidency, the National Assembly and the PDP.

”What the conniving trio has achieved now is to box Prof. Jega into a tight corner, which is apparent in his announcement on Tuesday that INEC will soon start displaying the old, discredited voters’ register. We see that announcement as the cry of a man who is becoming increasingly frustrated by those who promised to give him a free hand before his appointment, but have now turned around to tie his hands behind his back.

”A further proof of the fact that Jega is being boxed into a tight corner by the trio is the statement credited to the Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Isiaka Adeleke, on Tuesday that there will be no fresh voters’ register for next year’s polls. Adeleke is not the INEC Chairman, but of course we understand he was acting as the spokesman for the conniving trio.

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”Our advice to Prof. Jega is that he has a choice. If those who appointed him will not give him a free hand to organise a free and fair elections next year, as it is now becoming evident, he should resign before they rubbish him. His credibility is on the line.

”We have said it before and we hereby repeat it: A fresh voters’ register is the barest minimum requirement for the organisation of free and fair elections next year. The existing voters’ register, which contains the names of Mike Tyson in Ondo, Bill Clinton in Anambra and George Foreman in Kwara cannot form the basis for credible polls next year. Reviewing such a register is like trying to build a superstructure on nothing. The register is beyond review, it is beyond updating,” AC said.

The party said it is not just enough to build the success of next year’s elections only around the much-trumpeted credibility of Prof. Jega, adding that while some past electoral umpires in Nigeria also did not lack integrity and credibility, they were done in by a system that seemed programmed to achieve failure.

‘The operators of that system have swung into action again, and the fabled credibility of Prof. Jega will not deter them from inflicting on Nigerians another round of woeful elections next year,” AC said.

The party noted that its fears and concerns about next year’s elections have nothing to do with the AC winning the polls, adding that if the PDP wins in free and fair elections, AC will be the first to congratulate it.

”But we will not sit idly by and allow next year’s elections to be rigged at source, as President Jonathan, the National Assembly and the PDP seem to be preparing to do by relying on a discredited voters’ register. Nigeria is greater than all these people, and we will not allow them to set the country on fire by ruining next year’s elections.

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