A more confident President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday assured the international community that the nation's armed forces would recapture territories seized by Boko Haram in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states before the general elections.
Meanwhile, less than 24 hours after the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) passed a vote of confidence on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, the party Friday described the INEC Chairman as a liar with regard to preparedness for the elections.
Also on the same day, PDP’s Presidential Campaign Organisation (PCO) raised the alarm on an alleged plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to simulate attacks on some of its own leaders with a view to accusing the PDP of being responsible for the attacks.
Jonathan who spoke while hosting members of the diplomatic community in Nigeria to a cocktail party at the State House said the activities of the terrorists posed a big threat to the nation's development.
He stressed that the adjustment of the dates of the conduct of election was necessary to provide some reasonable level of security for the smooth implementation of the exercise.
The President added that the tension that followed the announcement was therefore not necessary.
He argued that the six-week shift of the election was not meant to wipe out Boko Haram as was misconstrued in some quarters but for the military to prepare well and modify the security infrastructure.
"The security people are not saying that they will wipe out Boko Haram before elections will be conducted. But there are Boko Haram-related security issues and there were other security issues that were noticed during the period of campaigns which if we don't prepare properly and modify the security architecture we normally use for elections, the country may go up in flames.
"This period will give them the opportunity to clean up the three states. If at all they cannot clean up the three states, at least two states will be recovered completely and more local governments even from the remaining state. So, that elections could be conducted even in Borno State.
"Even if we don't take over all the territories in Borno State, definitely in Adamawa and Yobe states, we will take over completely. Even in Borno State, the headquarters of Boko Haram, even if we don't take over completely, at least 70 per cent of that state will be free for elections to be conducted," the president said.
He restated that the postponement of the general election was within the law and that the handover date remained May 29th.
INEC’s readiness: Jega lied, says Mu’azu…
The National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu expressed his reservations about Jega when he granted audience to a delegation of Africa Union’s election observers led by AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi in his office in Abuja.
Mu’azu urged INEC not to use Nigerians as guinea pigs for the Electronic Card Readers which INEC is planning to use for the elections.
According to a statement signed by his Press Secretary, Tony Amadi, the PDP national chairman stated: “The use of Electronic Management Tool (EMT) for the 2015 elections is welcome but we are not ready to be used as guinea pigs. INEC must ensure a successful test run before approving it for use. INEC management must get their sums right before introducing the measure.
“What is happening today in INEC had been highlighted in a letter we sent to his office. We anticipated so many issues, including the PVC fraud and manipulations. We said this in writing to INECWe don’t want to be unruly because if we were the opposition, we would make a lot of noise and say a lot of things.
“How does Jega who is the leader of INEC exonerate himself from disenfranchising 23 million Nigerians and telling the world that he is ready for elections? That’s why we are saying that he is not ready.
“23 million PVCs were either produced and not distributed or not produced at all. This must be highlighted and made known to the world. Your report must be very explicit to explain what had happened. He is lying. 23 million out of 68 million eligible voters or 34% as the INEC Chairman himself confirmed is unacceptable by any standard.”
The leader of the AU delegation, Dr. Abdullahi said they were impressed seeing no fighting or protests trailing the shift in poll dates, adding that it was a sign of maturity of Nigerians and the depth of democratic practice in the country.
The PDP chairman had on Thursday stated that the party had confidence in the ability of the commission led by Prof. Jega to conduct a transparent, free and fair election.
Fani-Kayode: APC Plotting to Simulate Attacks on Its Leaders…
The PDP Campaign Organisation, in a statement by its Director of Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, said: “It has been brought to our attention that a section of the APC has now perfected plans to simulate violent attacks on members of their own party and then point fingers at supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP for such attacks in order to portray us as being violent.
“As diabolical as this plan appears to be, it should come as no surprise to the Nigerian people given the antecedents of the APC. It is their stock-in-trade and their hallmark to engage in cheap propaganda and blackmail and to indulge in the most hideous form of violence. The recent torching of some of the branded buses of our party by the APC in Jos did not come to us as a surprise.
“Again the attacks on the convoy of our candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, whilst he was campaigning in Katsina, Bauchi, Taraba, Adamawa and Kaduna States were all carried out by members of the APC and the supporters and disciples of General Muhammadu Buhari.
“As an example of their sheer deceit and chicanery, there is a video of the burning of our campaign buses all over social media. This video footage showed a group of hoodlums offering songs of praise to Buhari and chanting war songs whilst they indulged in a gruesome and unrestrained orgy of violence. Yet, the APC still attempted to deceive Nigerians by claiming that the burning of the buses was carried out by members of the PDP in Plateau State.
“The fact of the matter is that our party was not embroiled in any violent intra-party fracas in Plateau state. Furthermore, our party leaders and members in Plateau State have demonstrated the highest level of decorum and civility even in the face of sponsored violence in the state.
“It has now come to our knowledge that a section of the leadership of the APC is perfecting plans to sponsor a series of simulated attacks on some key members of their own party.
“Their objective is to carry out the simulated attacks and then go public by linking supporters of our candidate, President Jonathan, to such attacks. This is an irresponsible and dangerous path to tread and we hereby serve notice to the leaders of the APC not to play with such dangerous fire.
“If they insist on doing so, their plans will backfire in a way that they cannot possibly comprehend and it will have far-reaching and tumultuous consequences for the fortunes of their party. Yet the truth is that their plan will not work. It is yet another cheap attempt at poisoning the political environment and fouling up the political space.
“We hereby alert members of the public and the security agencies to be very vigilant so as not to become objects of collateral damage whenever the APC choose to carry out their plot.”
Bring Back Our Girls Plans to Stir Discord in the Military…
Meanwhile, the PDP friday alleged that the Bring Back Our Girls group was planning to stage a demonstration at Unity Fountain, Abuja tomorrow aimed at stirring discord in the military.
A statement by Fani-Kayode reads: “Ordinarily this would have been a laudable event because all of us want the Chibok girls to be freed and brought back home. However the demonstration will not stop there. The intention of the organisers is to also call for the resignation of the Service Chiefs and it is a subtle attempt to stir up indiscipline, strife, rebellion, dissention and discord within the rank and file of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
“If they go ahead and do this, it will not only be a grave insult to the memories of those young men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces that have sacrificed their lives and that have been martyred in the fight against terror and Boko Haram in the last three years but it will also prove the fact that the Bring Back Our Girls group has a different agenda to that which they profess.
“A call on the Service Chiefs to resign at this point in time when we are in the middle of a war and in the heat of battle is not only grossly irresponsible but it is also dangerous and it would be counter-productive. It would have been more productive for Nigeria and more helpful to the plight of the Chibok girls if the Bring Back Our Girls organisation had encouraged our Armed Forces to do an even better job than they are already doing at the war front by commending their gallant efforts and noble sacrifice and urging them to stand firm and to do more.
“We should not be throwing stones and hurling bricks at our soldiers whilst we are in the middle of a war. Worse still tomorrow's demonstration by the Bring Back Our Girls group is being wholly and completely funded by the APC and its leaders who see it as yet another opportunity to play politics with the sorry plight and terrible misfortunes of the Chibok girls and use it as an opportunity to discredit the President, the Government and the Armed Forces before the Nigerian people and the international community.”