In the same vein, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged Nigerians not to be frustrated by the shift in the dates of the general election.
Prof. Segun Ajiboye, Chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, made the appeal yesterday while reacting to the postponement of the polls.
Ajiboye said that Nigerians should rather ensure that they collected their permanent voter's cards (PVCs) before the rescheduled dates for the elections.
He described INEC's decision as a serious setback for Nigerian democracy.
“We condemn the shift in the dates for the polls, however, we encourage Nigerians to keep calm in the face of unnecessary provocations.
“The decision is a serious setback for Nigerian democracy. But we should remain steadfast. Let us organise and not agonise,” he said.
Meanwhile the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has called on all Nigerians to remain calm and shun violence as many reel from the shock of the rescheduled general election.
In a statement signed by its President, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, and General Secretary, Comrade Musa Lawal, the Congress recalled that INEC had given various assurances of its level of preparedness for the elections.
It added that the postponement may be regarded as a great setback, which is capable of truncating the frail peace the country has at the moment, yet there is need to embrace peace and shun violence.
"We believe that God-willing the dates chosen will come soon and the elections will be held.”
Nigerians Need Patience to Overcome Anarchy, Says Olulade
The Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday expressed confidence in the ability of the INEC Chairman, Prof Jega’s ability to midwife free, fair and credible elections in spite of the frustrations being orchestrated by the Presidency and the ruling party via the Nigerian Military Service.
While calling on Nigerians to be calm and accept the shift, the House opined that Jega detests political interference in INEC’s operations but accepted the army’s request for a shift to avoid falling into the pit of frustration dug by the retrogressive elements to bury people's will and our growing democracy.
The spokesperson for the Assembly, Hon. Segun Olulade, said the army’s position was the last grand plan by President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, the PDP, to achieve their parochial desire to ensure elections are shifted even against popular position of the Council of State which is the highest advisory body to Mr President.
The state House of Assembly decried political interference in electoral process, calling the Army’s report a hoax not acceptable to Nigerians and international communities.
Olulade condemned Jonathan's lack of respect for Nigerians and indeed the world, stating that it is utterly embarrassing that the Nigerian government could use a politicised army to mount security threat on the nation and pull out of the security arrangements while international observers has already arrived in the country and election materials were already being moved to various states.
He said that the House believes Nigerians should stay calm and not take to the streets as that could open up a flank for the presidency to start anti-riot combat and thus truncate the process as conceived in their master plan to run away from defeat and collapse the nation’s hard earned democracy in the process.
"Nigeria is already an open book for the world as far as the on-going transition is concerned and that there is no hidden game that anyone can play to disrupt the process. He re-assured that six weeks is just around the corner when the nation will act on their pending decision to make a change through their votes and not guns" he said.
Resign Now, Wamakko Tells IG, Service Chiefs
Vexed by the seeming partisan posture of the Nigerian Army, the Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, has called on the service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Suleiman Abba, to resign immediately for orchestrating the postponement of the February general election.
Speaking with newsmen in Sokoto yesterday, Wamakko said all the service chiefs and the IG should resign now for failing to perform their duties.
He maintained that they had failed the nation and Nigerians and as such had no reason to remain in office.
"The service chiefs and IG should therefore, honourably resign as they could not guarantee the elections as their statutory and civic duties,"Wamakko said.
The governor emphasised that the postponement of the election was uncalled for and not the required plausible solution to their phobia.
According to him, the elections should have gone ahead on February 14 to allow Nigerians elect the candidates of their choice in line with their quest for change.
"How can the Boko Haram insurgency and a myriad of security challenges which have been bedevilling Nigeria for some years be solved in paltry 36 days?" He asked.
He said the postponement of the polls did not come as a surprise to Nigerians, as the PDP was not ready for the February 14 elections.
Wamakko posited that the PDP foresaw its massive failure and humiliation if the elections went ahead as planned by INEC.
He described the PDP as a sinking ship, saying the postponement of the election was an exercise in futility.
"The shift in the election dates was orchestrated by the PDP but the action is just akin to the fruitless efforts of a sinking ship or a dying person.
"All of us should be patriotic and pious enough to put Nigeria first above our egocentric and diabolical interests," Wamakko stressed.
However some Sokoto State indigenes have expressed satisfaction with the shift.
A cross section of the people in Sokoto State has voiced their support and opposition to the shift in the dates of the polls.
According to the NAN report, Alhaji Ibrahim Gidado, the Deputy Coordinator of the Goodluck Jonathan/Namadi Sambo Campaign Organisation in Sokoto State, said: “the postponement is in order as it will allow more Nigerians to collect their PVCs."
“What is worth doing, is worth doing well,” Gidado, a former Information Commissioner in the state added.
The Secretary of the PDP in the state, Alhaji Kabiru Aliyu, said even though the party in Sokoto State was ready for the elections, “we cannot go against the decision if there is no security in some parts of the country."
The Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in the state, Mr Steve Nwoke, also welcomed the shift in the dates of the polls, adding that, “the shift will enable more Nigerians to collect their PVCs.”
CNPP Outraged with Security Chiefs
Lashing out at the security chiefs also, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) said it is outraged with the security chiefs for embarking on Away Without Leave (AWOL).
"CNPP has no better definition of the blackmail submission of the security chiefs that they cannot secure the managers of the general election, if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insists on holding the elections in February; but as AWOL, since less than 10% of the country's local government areas is under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents.
"We are at a loss the mileage the security chiefs will cover between now and 28 March to crush the Boko Haram, which warranted the shift of the February polls, or will the poll be shifted again, if the insurgent rages?" Mr Osita Okechukwu, CNPP's spokesman submitted in the terse press statement.
Going further, the statement posited: "CNPP is making this assertion, based on our phobia of possible truncation of our fledgling democracy; for we witnessed first hand how our member political parties, some of whom had no candidate for any Parliamentary bid or governorship were manipulated and compromised by the presidency to support poll elongation.'
"We however commend the 21 Resident Electoral Commissioners and 12 political parties that opposed poll-tenure- elongation and pray that there is no further elongation: they should take solace on the truism that postponement of examinations cannot assist an indolent student."
Fashola Receives PVC, Faults Shift in Polls
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State yesterday expressed disappointment at the rescheduling of the general election.
He told journalists after collecting his PVC at his ward in Surulere Local Government Area, that the change in date for the elections lacked merit.
Fashola said the claim by the security agencies that they could not guarantee security for the elections as initially scheduled smacked of lack of preparedness for the polls on the part of the election management body.
While describing the rescheduling as “a low point in governance”, the governor said the shift was capable of undermining the nation’s democracy and investment.
“I think Nigerians must be disappointed by the postponement of the polls from February to March because it seems as if INEC was ambushed to take that decision.
“The shift will have consequences for us as a nation; the credibility of our governance is regrettably diminished. I do not know of any serious democracy that has set election dates then change them.
“I think when a country sets a process in motion like this, it ought to know that there would be political and economic consequences.
“Investors watch what is going on. It is really disappointing and when you hear the federal government saying they cannot guarantee security, it is more disappointing.
“If countries like Afghanistan and Syria where there is war, internal conflicts still had elections, I do not see why we can’t,” he said.
He however appealed to Nigerians to remain calm over the development, stressing the need for them to shun anything that could breach the peace.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the governor had earlier addressed a crowd of Arewa APC supporters at the Tafawa Balewa Square, where he urged them to eschew violence.
He said no matter how much they were provoked by supporters of the other political parties, they should stay out of trouble.