Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, Professor Ade Adefuye was on Friday summoned by the US Congress over the re-scheduling of the general elections in Nigeria that were to begin on 14th February, 2015.
The ambassador during the meeting in Washington DC debunked the impression in the international diplomatic circles that the military and the ruling party – the PDP – were working to scuttle the general elections.
Adefuye who addressed Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and members of the House Committee on Homeland Security over the election postponement also spoke with THISDAY, stressing he was being inundated with calls since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the re-scheduling of the general elections in Nigeria that were to begin on 14th February, 2015.
The ambassador told THISDAY: “The Embassy is pleased with the widespread interest in these elections and wishes to assure all that the elections, now re-scheduled to begin on 28th March, 2015, will proceed as planned.”
He told members of the diplomatic community that the government and people of Nigeria are committed to conducting a free, fair, credible and peaceful election, not only because of its importance to the future of democracy in Africa, but also because of “our belief in the principle of democracy and the intricate connection between democracy and development.”
According to Adefuye, the decision to postpone the elections earlier scheduled for February 14, 2015 was based on the need to get the logistics right, the desire to get all qualified Nigerians to exercise their franchise and the need to ensure adequate security during the conduct of the elections.
“We have a National Electoral Commission (INEC) that is independent in all its ramifications. It is the body that decides the dates of the elections based on its belief that the logistics and security necessary to ensure the conduct of a credible election are in place,” he remarked.
He said INEC itself had admitted it was facing some challenges in meeting the target date of 14th February for the elections citing that with a week to the elections, only about 45,829,808 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), representing about 60% of the total number of registered voters had been distributed.