11th February, 2015
The conspiracy to scuttle this year’s general elections which was postponed from February to March and April, appears to be gaining momentum, following allegation by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Tuesday that leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are planning a meeting with some military top brass on how to rig the election in favour of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Lai Mohammed made this allegation at a news conference where he also accused the PDP of mopping up permanent voter’s cards in Ogun State, western Nigeria, to disenfranchise voters in APC stronghold.
He alleged that the three-day meeting is taking place in Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria.
A military source at the 1 Division of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna confirmed that the Presidency is working hard and also using the opportunity of the postponement of the coming elections to rig back Jonathan to power at all costs.
According to the source, “a secret memo has been forwarded to all the heads of Divisions, Brigades and Battalions of the Nigerian Army across the country for a 3-day strategic meeting in Kaduna this week. The agenda of the meeting is on the coming elections and how to effectively use the military to intimidate voters especially in all the strong areas of the opposition across the country. The meeting will also be attended by the head of the special presidential task force and other Service Chiefs. The Army Chiefs will work with other security arms of government to rig the coming election in favour of GEJ.”
Also, Senator Babafemi Ojudu has revealed President Goodluck Jonathan’s secret plot to avoid election and extend his tenure by two years on the grounds that Nigeria is at war.
Ojudu (APC, Ekiti Central) told members of the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) that Jonathan has been making spirited moves to court National Assembly members into approving his agenda for the two-year tenure elongation.
According to the Daily Trust, Ojudu made the revelation Tuesday while addressing the ARG gathering inside the Trenchard Hall of the University of Ibadan with the theme “The change Yoruba will vote for.”
Senator Ojudu, in his submission, said: “If anybody thinks there is going to be elections on March 28, the person is deceiving himself. All the people that are close to me, especially my friends, I told them a year ago that there would not be election and that they are just deceiving us.
“Some of us who are perceptive have seen this in the body language of our colleagues; the body language of the Senate President himself, David Mark. When we came back from the summer recess last year, he said that for him, it’s not time for election. We should not be thinking of elections now, rather we should be thinking of fighting Boko Haram. The moment we took him up on that, he reversed himself.
“There are conscious attempts at lobbying some of us to work against having elections. Therefore, where they have got to now is the preliminary stage.
“We will resume next week Tuesday. I can assure you, they may likely bring a motion asking us to adjourn or postpone the elections for six months because there is an ongoing war.
“The constitution allows this. The constitution states that where and when there is a war in any corner of the country, the President can bring a motion to the National Assembly to postpone the elections for six months in the first instance and this can be passed by just a simple majority.
“If you think at this time that they may not get simple majority, you may be wrong. This is because 80 per cent of the senators and House of Representatives members are not returning, not out of choice. Perhaps, I am the only person who is not returning out of choice in the entire National Assembly. All others attempted but they did not make it.
“This may surprise you, we are all broke. If they say we want to give you two more years as it is being quietly requested by Jonathan, virtually everybody will vote for that.”
He said Jonathan had been pleading that the National Assembly should allow him to continue for two more years because he feared that if the election holds and a northern Muslim wins, there may be problems in the Niger Delta, adding that Jonathan also argued that if he wins there would be problem in the north.
“Therefore, the solution is for him to do two more years and at the end … you can have northern-northern and Muslim-Muslim candidates. That is their logic and that is what they are working towards. Left to us, they know it shall not pass. We must have to start crying out now and be strategic in our planning,” he said.
“We are about entering into a very long night in Nigeria. It is a very sad thing that whenever we thought we have made a progress, we take ten steps backward. This is what is happening now.”
Plans had been concluded to present the request to the National Assembly ahead of members’ resumption next Tuesday.
“We have been told that the president will forward the request to us in the National Assembly in which he will declare that Nigeria is now in a state of war as foreign troops under the multinational joint forces of the African Union are now in Nigeria,” the source said.
“The presence of the foreign troops must be backed by appropriate legal instrument and that is why the relevant constitutional provisions must be invoked,” the source said.
The president, sources said, will request the National Assembly to approve the six months tenure extension in accordance with the provisions of the constitution which allow for elongation of tenure of political office holders if the nation is in a state of war.
A source in the legislature said already, “monies have been made available to induce lawmakers into approving the request. Again, they know that 65 percent of the National Assembly members do not have return tickets and many of us may be willing to approve the extension,” the source who is ranking lawmaker said.
The initial six months extension would be used as a smokescreen for subsequent extensions as the president will request for three more extensions to make it two years.
When contacted, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business Senator Ita Enang declined to comment saying “I am not aware of it and I won’t talk about what is not before us.”
However, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) said any such request must be approved by 2/3rd majority of each chamber of the National Assembly and “as far as I am concerned, it won’t scale through. We will defeat it. APC has majority in the House and they (PDP) do not have 2/3rd majority in the senate,” he added.
Another source said if the tenure extension plot fails the Presidency would resort to “Plan B”. He said this entails setting up an interim government to be headed by a former Nigerian leader or an ex security chief.
Sources said the idea of handing over to an interim government is the last card to be played by the presidency as hopes for the president’s re-election keeps dwindling.