The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the shift in dates of the general elections from February to March saved the nation and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a monumental embarrassment.
The party in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, added that rather than condemnation, initiators of the shift in the dates for the elections out to be commended.
According to the ruling party, if held in February as initially scheduled, “the elections would have been chaotic and far from fair and credible, as over 23 million registered voters would have been disenfranchised for no fault of theirs”.
The statement continued: “The prevalent huge deficit in the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) has shown that the development rather saved the nation and the INEC a huge embarrassment.
“The fact that millions of Nigerians are still struggling to receive their PVCs a week after the February 14 date clearly shows that the commission would have been thoroughly embarrassed had it gone ahead with the elections on that day.
“As at February 7, a week to the rescheduled elections, the Chairman of the INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, announced that only 45, 829, 808 representing 66.58 percent of the total number of registered voters have received their PVCs. INEC’s records also showed that 1.3 million cards were yet to be delivered by the printers, while 1.1 million stolen cards were yet to be replaced as at that date.
“Whereas the INEC gave the impressions that all processes, including the PVC distribution will be perfected before February 14, it is disturbing that a week after that date, millions of Nigerians are still struggling to receive their cards which confirms the fears that the commission was not truly ready for the elections in February in spite of its posturing.
“Also, had the commission gone ahead with the polls on February 14, non-indigenes who were being denied their PVCs in select states such as Lagos and Kano would also have been disenfranchised. The shift gave the INEC the time to tackle the issue, which led to the sacking of two of its culpable adhoc staff members in Lagos State.
“Furthermore, while briefing the Senate on Wednesday, the INEC Chairman had acknowledged that the postponement was a blessing in disguise which affords the commission and other stakeholders an ample opportunity to perfect all processes for credible elections.
“In Prof Jega’s words, ‘the period of extension has offered us an opportunity to further perfect the electoral process for the delivery of free, fair, credible and peaceful elections to the satisfaction of the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians. We hope that all stakeholders will continue to join hands with the commission to turn this disappointment into a blessing to our country. We believe that the effective utilization of this period of extension will enable the INEC to have a flawless and near perfect conduct of elections’.
“We note that what is paramount for our nation at this point remains the conduct of credible, free and fair elections where all registered voters are given equal opportunity to exercise their franchise. We, therefore, urge all stakeholders to put the overall interest of the nation ahead of other considerations and desist from making unguarded statements or jumping into hasty conclusions regarding the preparations for the general elections”.
The PDP also restated its readiness for the rescheduled elections, adding that with its array of credible candidates, numerous achievements and support of Nigerians, it was assured of emerging victorious at the polls.
Akeredolu Sacks Ondo Attorney-General, Olawoye
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has sacked the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kola Olawoye.
This was made known in a statement on Monday by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Segun Ajiboye.
Akeredolu immediately appointed a human rights lawyer, Mr. Charles Titiloye, as the new Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
According to the statement, the Ondo State governor would forward Titiloye’s name to the State House of Assembly for confirmation.
Akeredolu also expressed his appreciation to the sacked commissioner for services rendered to the state.
Focus On Reducing Poverty, Not 2023 Elections – Peter Obi
Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has called on his fellow politicians to put issues of 2023 aside and focus on how to rescue the country from the current economic crisis.
Obi said that solving the economic problems of Nigeria was more important than political permutations geared towards the next general elections.
The former Anambra State Governor stated during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
He expressed that the next election has no impact on people’s current livelihoods.
Obi also blamed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for not adequately preparing Nigerians for the impact of COVID-19, stating the monies borrowed by this government were not properly put to use.
“Every other country is discussing the recession and how to pull their people out of poverty.
“So what we should do now is to concentrate on the monetary and fiscal policies to start pulling people out of poverty,” Obi said.
Recession: Nigeria Is Broke, Can’t Afford 2021 Budget – Atiku
Former Vice-President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has expressed that the Federal Government should reconsider the 2021 budget owing to the recession.
Nigeria officially entered into its worst economic recession in 33 years after the nation recorded a GDP contraction of 3.62 percent in the third quarter of 2020.
He stated that Nigeria is broke and cannot afford the luxurious items in the N13.08 trillion budget proposal.
Atiku in a Twitter thread on Sunday stated that COVID-19 only complicated an existing economic problem.
Atiu went on to express that had President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration listened to advice, the recession could have been avoided.
“We could have avoided this fate by a disciplined and prudent management of our economy.”
“This could have been avoided had this administration taken heed to the patriotic counsel given by myself and other well-meaning Nigerians on cutting the cost of governance, saving for a rainy day, and avoiding profligate borrowing,” Atiku said.
He further said that now is not the time to trade blames but to focus on ways to manage the situation and called on Buhari’s government to “swallow its pride, and accept its limitations, so that they can open their minds to ideas, without caring who the messenger is.”
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