- The INEC told the council that it was ready to conduct the elections on scheduled dates
- The electoral body will take final decision on the election date on Saturday
- There have been calls for the postponement of the elections
- Council says the election should hold as scheduled.
- Insinuations were on that the council had the intention of persuading the INEC to postpone the elections
- President Goodluck Jonathan expressed concerns that some voters who have not collected their voters card may be disenfranchised
The advice was made by by the National Council of States in a meeting where INEC briefed the council of its preparedness to hold the election on the scheduled dates.
There have been calls for the postponement of the elections by some groups. One of such calls was made by the National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki.
At the end of a nearly seven hours-long session, Council members agreed that the general elections should proceed as scheduled in all parts of the country, except in areas ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency.
Go on with elections
In addition to the forth-coming elections, the Council of States also discussed the nation’s security challenges.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the meeting, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and James Ngilari of Adamawa State, stated that Council members had agreed that INEC should go ahead with the election.
Explaining the resolutions of the Council, Governor Okorocha said: “The NCS advised INEC to go and performs its civic responsibility, which is to conduct elections. That is what we rose to agree. It was a very challenging moment. INEC however, reaffirmed severally that they were ready but had concerns about security in a few local governments.
“Council however, asked INEC to go and perform its civic responsibilities, which is the conduct of elections”.
Asked if there was a decision as to change the date of the polls, Governor Okorocha said there was no decision as to a change of date or postponement at all.
“But the Council has asked INEC to go and perform its responsibility.”
Governor Olussegun Mimiko of Ondo State said INEC would consult widely with stakeholders and come up with a decision that they would brief the nation on, soon.
“The Council of State held a meeting for close to seven hours. Essentially, the state of preparedness of INEC was on the table.
“INEC had the benefit of input from Council members and security chiefs and agencies. And based on the very exhaustive discussion and pieces of advice, INEC is constitutionally empowered on the basis of the discussions to brief the nation and then the news will be communication to you,” he explained.
On Thursday, many Nigerians waited anxiously for the outcome of the meeting, following allegations of a plot to force a shift in the dates earlier announced by INEC for the elections.
The INEC will make its final decision on the election dates on Saturday.
The Council of States is an advisory body composed of former Heads of State,former Chief Justices of the Federation, the leadership of the legislature and Security Agencies.
Thursday’s meeting was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan. It was attended by former President Shehu Shagari and former Heads of State Yakubu Gowon, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Interim National Government President Ernest Shonekan. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was the only one not in attendance.
Other participants were the Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Aminu Tambuwal and former Chief Justices of the Federation, Dahiru Musdafa and Modibbo Alfa Belgore.
Governors of 29 states, Acting Governor of Taraba state and the deputy Governors of three states, as well as the National Security Adviser to the President, Minister of the FCT and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice were in attendance at Thursday’s meeting, one of the most attended council meeting of late.
Equally present were the Chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega and some Commissioners of the electoral body.
Mr Doyin Okupe, a spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday said that the presidency had no intention of persuading the INEC to shift the election date, but said that President Jonathan had expressed concern that on 65.5% out of the 68.8 million have been able to collect their PVCs.