Federal Government to postpone elections – the Federal Government is set to shift the election date., Citing the need to defuse the rising tension in the land, among other reasons, the Federal Government is set to shift the coming polls by six weeks. The presidential and National Assembly elections are currently scheduled for February 14, while those of the states will hold on February 28.Rumors has it that under the new proposal, the elections may now hold at the end of March.
The proposed change is hinged on the mounting tension in the country sequel to violent displays at some of the ongoing campaigns across the country.
The feeling inside government circles is that there is need to let the tension, which is nearing boiling point in the country at the moment, come down before the election could hold, otherwise there could be an implosion.
Sources say that within the six weeks, efforts will be made to calm frayed nerves and encourage more people to embrace peace.
It is feared that the presidential election in particular may lead to an implosion in the country.
The body language in the North suggests a possible repeat of the bloodletting that occurred after Jonathan was declared winner of the 2011 election, if the incumbent wins again. It is also feared that a similar turmoil may erupt, especially in the South South, if General Muhammadu Buhari of the All progressives Congress (APC) wins the election. Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is an Ijaw from the South South area of the country.
Besides, there is uncertainty over whether the elections could validly hold in the North Eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa which have been wracked by the Boko Haram insurgency. There are security concerns over the safety of full-time and ad-hoc staff of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) during the polls.
This development was further accentuated by the recent declaration by European Union Election Observers who said they would not be visiting the troubled states over concerns for their safety.
Another reason being adduced for the proposed shift is the non-availability of the Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) across the states. The fear is that this may end up in the disenfranchisement of many eligible voters.
Thus, the Presidency believes that shifting the polls by about six weeks would allow more people to get their PVCs and be eligible to vote.
Indeed, Section 26 (6) of the Electoral Act 2010 stipulates that an election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be held not earlier than 150 days to the expiration of the date of office and not later than 30 days to the expiration of the office.
Thus, if the six weeks shift is finally accepted, it will be within the time stipulated by the Electoral Act as there will be about 60 days before the expiration of the incumbent’s stay in office.
Last month, the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) at a talkshop in the UK mooted the idea of a slight shift in the date of the elections, a development that has sparked heated debates across the country.
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