Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Nigeria: 4 goes to court to stop general elections

A Federal High court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, has been asked to stop the February 2015 general elections.

The plaintiffs in the suit, Asogo Torkuma Venatius, Ola Solomon Oluwasanmi, Sunday Attah and Philip Agbese are seeking the nod of the court to postpone the elections until all eligible voters have collected their Permanent Voters Card (PVC).

In the suit, filed through their counsel, Mr Amobi Nzelu, they are also asking the court to order the use of Temporary Voters Card for those who are unable to collect their PVC.

In the statement of claim, the plaintiffs said that contrary to the announcement by the electoral body in 2014 that they would issue all eligible voters with PVC for the February 2015 election, about half of eligible voters are yet to collect their PVC.

On January 22, the National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki, advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delay the elections scheduled for February in order to allow for proper preparations and distribution of the PVC.

He gave the advice during a discourse at London think-tank, Chatham House, where he stated that it would be advantageous if the upcoming elections were postponed.

He said that so far, INEC had distributed 30 million cards and would need to distribute more, noting that it would be the first time Nigerian voters would use a biometric card to prevent rigging of the elections.

According to him, since there were still another 30 million people yet to collect their PVCs, it would cost INEC nothing to change the dates of the elections.

The INEC had continued to assure Nigerians of its readiness to conduct the polls on the scheduled days.

Few days ago, it announced an extension of the the deadline for collection of the PVC from January 31 to February 8.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, Mr Akin Orebiyi, told Channels Television on Friday that Nigerians had not come out to collect the cards, but expressed optimism that 80 to 85 per cent of the cards would be collected before the deadline.


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