In a press statement released today, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) opened the door to the possibility of postponing general elections that are currently scheduled to hold on February 14 and 28, 2015.
A high-level source at INEC told a correspondent of SaharaReporters that the commission’s chairman, Attahiru Jega, had been rattled by pressure from the Presidency and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, and was now open to a possible postponement of the elections.
At a charged meeting of the National Council of States that held in Abuja yesterday, Mr. Jega had argued firmly that his commission was ready and committed to conducting the elections on the current schedule. However, the INEC source disclosed that the electoral chairman had been disquieted by the seeming determination of President Goodluck Jonathan’s close associates to force a postponement in the face of dwindling prospects for the incumbent president’s re-election.
“Even though Professor Attahiru Jega wants to hold the elections as scheduled, he has seen that even some of his senior officials have been bought by the Presidency and are singing a different tune,” said our INEC source.
Our INEC source added that Mr. Jega “feels some of the forces at the Presidency and within INEC may be trying to sabotage the election in order to rubbish his reputation. So he has now decided to call all the stakeholders to a meeting to discuss whether to postpone or not.”
A statement released today by INEC read, “On Thursday, February 5, 2015, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, was invited to brief the National Council of States (NCS) on the preparedness of INEC to conduct the 2015 general elections. He made a presentation titled ‘Preparations for the 2015 General Elections: Progress Report.’ The National Security Adviser (NSA) and Armed Services Chiefs also briefed the Council on the current security situation.
“As a follow-up to that meeting, the Commission has scheduled a consultative meeting with chairmen and secretaries of all registered political parties, as well as a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Saturday, February 7, 2015.
“Thereafter, the Commission will address a press conference to brief the nation on its decision with regard to whether or not the general elections will hold as currently scheduled.”