Activists warn Jonathan against tenure extension


President: Interim Govt is treasonable

Day of action Feb 28

Activists warned yesterday against another shift of the general elections.

They will stage a nationwide protest should the elections be postponed.

The elections fixed for March 28 and April 11 must hold, Nigerians United for Democracy (NUD) said.

The group’s leader, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), spoke at a news conference in Lagos.

With him were Malachy Ugwumadu, Olarenwaju Suraj and Mr. Debo Adeniran, among others.

They listed attempts by President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to derail the elections, saying there would be a national day of action on February 28, where Nigerians would stand hand-in-hand to send a strong message to the government that the citizenry will not tolerate any attempt to interfere with the elections.

The group called on the National Assembly to compel the Service Chiefs to extract an undertaking that the elections would not be shifted.

President Jonathan promised yesterday the dates would not be changed. Besides, he dismissed the rumour of an interim government — an idea he described as treasonable.

Falana said Nigerians were worried about the statement of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, that the new election dates were not sacrosanct.  The elections were originally fixed for February 14 and 28.

“We are compelled to call on the National Assembly to extract a form of undertaking from the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the security chiefs that the general elections would not further be postponed or disrupted,” Falana said, adding:

“The undertaking ought to be made publicly by the service chiefs, in view of the categorical statement of the Court of Appeal that the Armed Forces have no role to play in the electoral process.”

Saying there was need to prevent a slide into anarchy, Falana said: “We need to take our destiny into our hands. We need to ensure that darkness does not once again descend on our country and we are insisting that nothing must change the new dates of March 28 and April 11.”

He added that the postponement of the elections at the instance of the Service chiefs could not be justified in law.

“It was a plot to undermine the democratic process and prevent Nigerians from exercising their rights of franchise.

“Having fought the war on terror for six years, there is no indication that the Boko Haram sect would be wiped out in six weeks.

“Since the operations was limited to 14 local governments, there is no basis for not holding elections in the remaining 760 local government areas in the federation and the six area councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” he said.

Falana noted that more than two decades ago, the citizenry, led by the progressives extraction of the civil society, protested the manipulation of political transition from military dictatorship to democratic rule.

He said anti-democratic forces had always been defeated, noting that in this case, it would not be an exception.

“Nigerians will stand hand-in-hand to speak with one voice against electoral terrorism, against any further polls’ shift, against the introduction of an Interim Government, against any military incursion in politics, against corruption and against the devaluation of the national currency.

“We call on Nigerians to come out in large numbers to assert and take control of their destiny,” he stressed.

SOURCE: The Nation

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