Ahead of the 2015 general elections, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Committee, Prof Attahiru Jega alongside the nation’s security chiefs yesterday held a closed door meeting with members of the monitoring committee of the Abuja Peace Accord.
The meeting which went into tea break after several hours, saw the INEC chairman, the Chief of Defence Staff, AVM Alex Badeh and the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba leave the venue as their security aides barred journalists from getting close to them.
Curiously also, after the meeting, the arrowheads of the committee, including the chairman, Gen Abdulsalam Abubakar; the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onayeikan; the Anglican Primate, Nicholas Okoh and the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, all left the hall for other members to brief the press.
Justice Rose Ukeje rtd, Vanguard Newspaper publisher Sam Amuka and the director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution, Prof Osita Osita, later briefed the press and disclosed that the INEC chairman and the service chiefs gave their full assurances that the rescheduled elections would hold as planned.
According to them, the committee was able to extract from the defence chief his assurance that the military has addressed most of the security challenges especially in the northeast.
They also stated that the INEC chairman confirmed that the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) has attained 80 per cent collect which he said has met the constitutional requirement. According to the INEC, most people who had not collected their cards may fall into the category of dead, displaced or relocated persons.
“This is the fourth meeting of the committee. At today’s meeting the following eminent persons briefed the committee: the INEC chairman, the chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector General of Police and they said that there is no fear and there will be a violence free and credible election and also that there is no fear of a further adjournment of the election because there is no room for that in the constitution,” Justice Ukeje said.
Other members of the committee present were Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, Sen Ben Obi, and Dr Yunusa Tanko.