The Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shetima; his Adamawa State counterpart, Murtala Nyako; and Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State have given the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, knocks over its plans to exempt the states from taking part in the 2015 general elections.
The INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had in Abuja on Monday, said that the commission might not hold 2015 elections in the three states which are currently under state of emergency if the security situation does not improve.
But Shetimma, who was the first to react to the INEC Chairman’s remarks, said the exclusion of the states from the 2015 elections would have grave repercussions for the country.
Shettima, who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on Tuesday through his media aide, Isa Gusau said, “One important thing we should not ignore as a sovereign country is that suspending national elections in any part of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory on account of Boko Haram activities would amount to making the insurgents supreme over the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It will be defeatist on our part as a nation. The goal of Boko Haram is to impose their beliefs on us; subvert our constitution and our democracy and replace them with inhuman laws that support killings and destructions”.
Gov. Shetimma, who superintends over the state considered to be the origin and hotbed of Boko Haram, added that the suspension of elections in any part of the country due to insurgency would be celebrated by the insurgents as a sign of victory.
He, however, expressed the belief that Jega was being sincere by expressing his view, adding that if the INEC boss had an ulterior motive, he would not reveal the issue now.
“The INEC chairman hasn’t foreclosed the participation of the three affected states in the 2015 election. He has said the proposal is dependent on hopes that security improves in the affected states”.
Opposing suspension of elections in the state due to the violent activities of a few, he said, “We must insist that Nigeria is our sovereign country. We are the majority and a few cannot violently force their views on us”.
He noted that governance had not stopped for one day in Borno State in order not to give the insurgents sense of victory.
Also, Nyako said that the INEC chairman’s statement was capable of overheating the polity and creating an atmosphere of fear in the North–East.
Nyako, who spoke through the state Director of Press and Public Affairs, Government House, Yola, Ahmad Sajo stated that, “Jega’s statement is disappointing and especially considering that the extended state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states would lapse within the first quarter of next year; many months before the 2015 elections. We wonder why Jega would not wait to reach the bridge before attempting to cross it”.
According to him, Jega must be an incurable pessimist for saying elections would not hold in the states.
“Jega should equally understand that the Federal Government has greater responsibility to end the insurgency in the North East. Any Presidency without our votes would have been unfair to us and a direct attempt to excise us from the country by other means”, he said.
Speaking in the same vein, Gaidam described Jega as a pessimist.
He said, “Borne apparently of a pessimistic view of the situation in the three states, the INEC Chairman’s position is mind-boggling in several respects”.
Gaidam, in a statement by his special adviser on Press Affairs and Information, Abdullahi Bego, noted that the state of emergency in the three north-eastern states which was renewed for additional six months last November would end in April, 2014.