Election

Chief security officer, Sambo Dasuki, calls for vote delay


A call from the Nigeria's national security adviser, has urged INEC to halt the elections of February general elections to allow more time for eligible voters to get their voters cards and exercise their civic rights in the scheduled elections.

Since this is the first in Nigeria to require voters to have their biometric cards, it is therefore advisable that the voters cards be distributed evenly. It is also a common news that the country is presently undergoing uprising from the Islamists Boko Haram and is still scheduled to hold elections on February 14th.

The chief security officer, Sambo Dasuki, also pointed that neighboring Chad was helping Nigeria with troops to fight the militants, who presently control many towns and villages in the country. And he criticized "cowards" within Nigeria's armed forces for hampering the campaign against the insurgents.

"We have people who use every excuse in this world not to fight," he told an audience at the Chatham House think-tank in London, adding "there is no high-level conspiracy within the army not to end the insurgency".

Several soldiers have complained about not being given the weapons they need to fight Boko Haram.

Speaking about the forthcoming election, Mr Dasuki said 30 million cards had been distributed over the last year but the same number still remained to be handed out.

The measure was introduced to guard against electoral fraud.

President Goodluck Jonathan is standing for re-election. His main challenger is former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Dasuki, speaking at the London think-tank Chatham House, said he had told the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it would be sensible to postpone the poll within the three months it had to legally take place.

"It costs you nothing, it's still within the law," Mr Dasuki said he had told the INEC chairman.

He told Chatham House that a postponement would be "safer for all of us".

"If in one year you've distributed 30 million, I don't see how you will distribute another 30 million in two weeks. It doesn't make sense."

But INEC spokesman Kayode Idowu said there were currently no plans to delay, according to Reuters news agency.

"It is not a conversation of the commission's at all. As far as we are talking now, the date is what it is," Mr Idowu said.

Lai Mohammed, spokesman of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), told Reuters he was not happy with the proposal.

"Why are they not ready? Why should we postpone? We say 'no' to postponement," he said

The elections look to be the closest fought since the end of military rule in 1999.

They pit President Jonathan of the governing People's Democratic Party (PDP) against Mr Buhari, who ruled Nigeria from January 1984 until August 1985 following a coup.

Nigeria is gripped by a violent uprising in the north-east led by Islamist Boko Haram rebels.

But Mr Dasuki stressed that adequate security will be in place for the poll and that those displaced by the fighting will be able to vote.

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