The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation has said that contrary to the claim by the Independent National Electoral Commission that security concerns was responsible for its decision to reschedule the 2015 general elections, the underlying factor was logistics problem on the part of the electoral body.
The general elections earlier billed for February 14 and 28 will now hold March 28 and April 11.
The chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, who made the announcement at the weekend, said it followed the “strong advisory” and a warning from the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), and military chiefs that they could not guarantee security if the polls go ahead this month.
According to Jega, the security forces demanded at least six weeks to conclude a major operation against Boko Haram in the North East region.
But speaking Tuesday evening on the BBC, the PDPPCO spokesperson, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, said the security concern relating to the insurgency in the Northeast, was immaterial to the decision to postpone the elections.
He argued that the problem of logistics, including the challenge of distributing Permanent Voter Cards to valid voters, faced by INEC, led to the postponement.
Absolving the Presidency of blame, Fani-Kayode said the push for polls shift never emanated from President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The decision to postpone the elections never emanated from the government of President Goodluck Jonathan as being speculated, but from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) owing to the problem of logistics it encountered”, he said.
Mr. Fani-Kayode continued “INEC mainly agreed to shift the dates for the scheduled Nigeria’s general elections mainly because many eligible voters in Nigeria were yet to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs)”.
He stressed that the percentage of those who were yet to get the cards was still high at the time the dates of the elections were shifted.
Mr. Fani-Kayode said Boko Haram became part of the reason for postponing the election “because the Service Chiefs in Nigeria suggested to INEC that they could not guarantee security during a nationwide election, while the attention of the military would be concentrated on the task of flushing the insurgents out of the north-eastern part of Nigeria where they have been operating”.
He also dismissed speculations in some quarters that the fight against insurgency had been politicised.
Commending the Nigerian military for a “remarkable job”, the PDP presidential campaign spokesman said although the insurgents before now were operating freely in some parts of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, with a spate of bombings, “the military have responded and fought valiantly to push them to the north-east zone of the country”.
Asked whether or not the PDP would support any further postponement in the event that the insurgents are not effectively contained within six weeks, Mr. Fani-Kayode said “the constitution of Nigeria has given limitations on the number of days elections should hold before the handover date”.