Members of the opposition All Progressives Congress in the Senate on Tuesday, raised the alarm of a fresh plot by the Peoples Democratic Party to postpone the forth coming general elections slated for March 28 and April 11.
The senators, who walked out ofthe plenary to address the National Assembly correspondents in the Senate, alleged that the Presidency, in collaboration with the ruling PDP, were planning to arm-twist the electoral umpire to canvass a shift of using the card reader as an excuse.
Their reaction followed the submission of Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, while moving a motion for the summon of the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru jega, over the planned use of the card reader for the election.
Ndoma-Egba, had argued that the use of card readers would contravene Section 52 of the Electoral Act which prohibits the use of electronic device during election.
But the senators, led by their leader, Senator George Akume, insisted at the news conference that anything short of conducting the elections as scheduled, and using the card reader to avoid rigging, might lead to a civil war.
They argued that since the card reader was meant for the accreditation of the voters, its usage would not constitute a breach of the Electoral Act as postulated by the Senate Leader.
The opposition senators alleged that the PDP leadership, having failed to use the security challenges and poor collection of Permanent Voter Cards as excuses to postpone the polls again, had started a fresh plot by hiding under the card reader’s usage.
Akume said, “Elections must be held as rescheduled, it is important that the Independent National Electoral Commission must do this in order to avoid unpleasant consequences.
“Nigeria is a huge and complex society, culturally, structurally, and everything must be done to avoid the Somalia experience. There would be too many warlords in this country should we fail to do what is right.
“Nigerians deserve the best. Card readers will add value to the conduct of the elections; we are talking about free and fair elections. Time has passed when people carry ballot boxes and papers to their respective rooms, thumb-print and bring them for counting the following day.
“The whole world is watching this county. We have become a laughing stock, we are becoming a banana republic.
“We are even more patriotic than those who are in government. We want elections and card readers to be applied; they must be used, otherwise, the elections can never be free and fair.
“If a country like Ghana can get it right, using the card reader, why can’t the giant ofAfrica do it? IfSierra Leone can do it, even Liberia, why can’t Nigeria do it? We are waiting for INEC to do it; INEC must use it.
“Card readers are a must to ensure free, credible, acceptable elections. To do otherwise won’t be acceptable”
The senators also vowed to frustrate any plan by the ruling PDP to extend President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration through the composition of an Interim National Government.
Akume said, “There is no country in the world whose leader can sit down and do what we are doing here, to undermine our democracy. That is tantamount to treason.
“We have nothing like Interim Government in our constitution and of course, there is nothing like coup in our constitution and therefore, we must do the right thing. The president himself has sworn to protect this country and therefore,where he is going wrong, he must be corrected.”
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