The Citizens Initiative for Security Awareness (CISA) has warned Nigerians against the antics of some hostile foreign powers currently masquerading as friends on the issue of postponement of 2015 general election.
At a press conference organised by I-Nigerian Initiative in Abuja, the civil society group expressed its disappointment at the postponement of the polls after much mobilisation by its members and political parties but insisted “the six weeks is not six months, more so, when we have received continuous assurances from both the NSA and President Jonathan that the May 29 date for inauguration of a new government is sacrosanct.”
National Coordinator of CISA, Chidi Omeje, said despite the disappointment however, “we believe, without equivocation, that the intervention and position of the National Security Adviser and the relevant security agencies on this issue was guided by altruism and the larger interest of the nation and not in any way for partisan considerations.
Omeje reminded Nigerians that regardless of whichever political party they support, “we know where our shoe pinches us”, and so we should be wary of insincere advice by those who had predicted the disintegration of the country.
“For several years after the commencement of our counter-insurgency operations, we approached some western nations for the supply of arms and ammunitions to contain Boko Haram terrorists.
Rather than offer us the much needed effective support by way of selling necessary equipment to us, they bluntly refused and even went further to veto decisions by other friendly countries to sell weapons to us, citing some vague claims of human right abuse by our troops”, insisting that “this is clearly in a bid to frustrate our efforts and to denigrate our sovereignty.”
He noted that patriotic Nigerians must never be silent in the face of glaring supremacist interference in our internal affairs by the Western interlopers, who turned their back to us in our time of great distress but are now quick to grandstand and pontificate over our election dates.
He noted that the present momentum in the counter-terrorist operation occasioned by a reinvigorated Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), involving Nigerian military and her counterparts from Chad, Cameroun and Niger Republic which is rapidly yielding positive results.
“It was based on this imperative that the military is of the opinion that providing full support to the electoral process at the moment will greatly affect the terms, spirit and tempo of the new collaboration. The belief is that between now and the coming weeks will be very crucial in the renewed fight against terror by the reinvigorated Multi National Joint Task Force which Nigeria is coordinating and that any distraction or diversion at this critical moment will be counter-productive as we move to reverse the situation in the northeast.
“The position of the military is definitely in the larger interest of our national security and never for any political expediency or ulterior consideration as is being bandied about by some politicians and in the social network platforms.
“We therefore advised fellow Nigerians to insulate the military from partisan politics and rather have confidence in its neutrality and sense of patriotism.”
Omeje also urged politicians not to crucify the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, who he said “is not known for any penchant for frivolity or undue partisanship in matters of national importance.
“We must also admit that his office is privileged to have security information that ordinary citizens do not have, we have no doubt in our minds that his advice to INEC on the need to postpone the elections stemmed from a vantage position of knowledge,” he declared.
Omeje observed that with Nigerians anticipating an election that will not only be free and fair but which must also be credible, “a situation whereby close to 30 per cent of potential voters had not collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) is hardly one that could produce a result that will be respected by all.
“INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, was also quoted to have admitted that if given more time, the commission would do a better job; this is in recognition or admission of apparent non-readiness of the commission.
“Card readers were still being imported, while ad-hoc staff were yet to be trained for an election that was just seven days away. Will it not have been a monumental embarrassment for INEC if it had gone ahead to conduct the elections with such a poor level of preparation?”
The group’s coordinator then expressed appreciation to the gallant military which apart from its primary constitutional role of defending the country from external aggression and internal insurrection also has the added responsibility of providing support in aid of civil authority in times of national security emergencies such as providing complementary security arrangement to protect our electoral process.
“It is on record that our Armed Forces have successfully lived up to this constitutional provision during the conduct of past elections without equivocation.
“We all know that our troops are currently engaged in a very serious and frantic national assignment,” he said.