The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Saturday said he is under intense pressure to shift the February 14presidential election by six weeks in the first instance.
Jega told representatives of the Civil Societies at a meeting in Abuja that he had received a letter from those at the helms of the country’s security agencies that their concerns now is to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency and not to provide security for elections.
The Civil Societies however advised INEC to resist the pressure.
The statement reads: “The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) this afternoon, Saturday, 7th February 2015 met with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and with all of its 12 National Commissioners in attendance.
“At the meeting, INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega, conveyed that he had received a letter from the security services advising that he postpones the general elections on the grounds that the security agencies were engaged in a renewed battle against insurgency in the North-East that would require their full concentration. In the letter the Military was demanding a rescheduling of elections by at least 6wks in the first instance.
“Situation room conveyed to INEC its disappointment with the letter from the security agencies pointing out that this amounted to the Military’s abdication of its constitutional duties to provide security to citizens and to the Commission to enable it conduct elections and appeared contrived to truncate the democratic process in Nigeria.
“Situation Room is further worried that the Military’s position also aims to blackmail and arm-twist the Election Management Body away from its constitutional guaranteed function of conducting elections. Situation Room also condemns this advisory by security agents that they cannot guarantee the security of citizens, election officials and materials during the election.
“The Situation Room calls for the resignation of military chiefs and security heads including the Police on account of their inability to exercise their constitutional responsibility to secure lives and property at all times including during the elections.
“Situation Room also calls on Nigerians to be vigilant and be ready to protect this hard won democracy!
“The Situation Room is made up of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in support of credible and transparent elections in Nigeria and includes such groups as Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), CLEEN Foundation, Action Aid Nigeria, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Enough is Enough Nigeria, Wangonet, Partners for Electoral Reform and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA). Others are Development Dynamics, Human Rights Monitor, Election Monitor, Reclaim Naija, Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, CITAD, CISLAC and several other CSOs numbering more than Sixty.”