Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Presidential Election to Hold Feb 14, 2015

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed the presidential and National Assembly elections for February 14, 2015. In the 2015 general elections timetable which INEC released yesterday in Abuja, the commission said they would be followed on February 28 by the governorship and state houses of assembly elections.

In a statement signed by INEC secretary Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu, the commission said the Ekiti State governorship election would hold on June 21, 2014, while the Osun State poll would take place on August 9, 2014.

The statement added that the commission arrived at the dates for the elections after its four-day retreat which held in Kaduna from January 21.

The three-paragraph statement read: "Pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the timetable and schedule of activities leading to the 2015 general elections and the Ekiti and osun governorship elections.

"After the deliberations at the four-day retreat held in the Assa Pyramid Hotel, Kaduna from Tuesday 21st - Friday 24th January, 2014, the commission has scheduled the presidential and National assembly elections for 14th February, 2015 and the governorship and state houses of assembly elections for 28th February, 2015.

"The Ekiti State governorship election is scheduled to hold on 21st June, 2014 while the Osun State governorship election is scheduled to hold on 9th August, 2014."

Jonathan to declare ambition in May - presidency

Although the Presidency has played down the ultimatum given to President Goodluck Jonathan by a group to declare his interest in the 2015 presidential race, there are strong feelers that the president may declare his ambition in May this year.

A reliable presidency source, which said the National Coalition For Jonathan/Sambo Presidency's (NACOJP) 45-day ultimatum to indicate his interest in the 2015 presidential race or face its wrath, said Jonathan was not bound to heed the demand, adding that the group was merely expressing its freedom to be heard in a free society.

According to him, the president who is at present concerned with the task of giving the citizens good governance which they dearly needs will follow the rules of the game and declare his ambition not later than May.

He said, "I can tell you authoritatively that President Jonathan has postponed his declaration to run for a second term till May this year. The president has told us to wait till May. We wanted him to do it next month as earlier planned, but President Jonathan called us last week and directed that we should wait till May."

At a rally in Abuja, the pseudo-campaign body (NACOJP) threatened to shut down the country if President Jonathan refused to run.

While insisting that that the 45-day ultimatum given to the president was not binding on him, the seat of power described it as a "freely-given charge".

He also dismissed reports that the Presidency was behind NACOJP's rally which some opposition elements have described as a return to the late Gen. Sani Abacha's era. The Presidency source said, as a free society, the group was at liberty to call on the president to run inasmuch as the laws of the land were not infringed upon.

"We knew from the moment the rally was going on in the city that opposition elements were going to use it as campaign point - that the presidency was propping proxy bodies to kick-start campaign for Mr President.

"Little will the opposition know that just as they have the unfettered liberty to say whatever they want, including abusing the president at will, others also have the same right to say what they want, including calling on the president to run in 2015.

"But, honestly, the rally has nothing to do with the Presidency at all because it is the right of the people to associate and we see this as a freely-given charge even though they seem to miss the point by giving the president an ultimatum.

"Nigerians are aware that the president himself had severally said he would make his intention known this year; so it is out of place not to wait for him by giving him a time frame; even those of us working with him had planned and almost convinced him to declare in February but, sometime last week, he called us to say again that we should wait till May, that it won't exceed May this year, so we are waiting," he said.

But the national coordinator of the Concerned Northern Professionals, Academics and Businessmen Forum (CONPABF), Dr Junaid Mohammed, has warned President Jonathan not to plunge the country into crisis by sponsoring campaign groups to threaten violence.

According to Junaid, the Abuja rally by the pro-Jonathan group was a security threat which both the police and the State Security Service (SSS) should wade into.

"The Presidency cannot absolve itself from the threat issued by its rag-tag campaign outfit in whatever name; that group is the same as the hooligans around the president who daily mislead him.

"The SSS and the police should, as a matter of urgency, look into these threats upon threats that are coming from supporters of President Jonathan because these are ominous signs that will throw the country into turmoil if not checked by the security outfits in the country.

"For the avoidance of doubt, there is a clear threat to national security and cohesion that is coming from the so-called group: that Nigeria will be made ungovernable without Jonathan.

"In all its ramifications, we are back to the Abacha era; we are even in a worse era where non-performance has been subjected to public rallies' scrutiny because the government has lost legitimacy," he said.

At its rally held at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, NACOJP had declared:"It is an incontrovertible fact that President Jonathan, apart from the wonders he is doing with the Transformation Agenda that is being felt in all the sectors of the Nigerian economy, has heavily invested in the future of the Nigerian youths.

"The many seeds of growth and development planted by President Jonathan in 2011 have started bearing good fruits. We have seen that four years are not enough to tender and continuously make these trees to produce fruits and feed Nigeria.

"To this end, we call on President Jonathan to within 45 days make his intention to contest the 2015 presidency known to Nigerians; if he refuses to do so, the youths in Nigeria will storm Abuja and shut down Nigeria. We will make sure it is no Jonathan, no 2015 and therefore no Nigeria," the group's president, Godspower Denema, said.

NACOJP's patron, Dr Benjamin Irikefe, had also threatened that Nigeria would be made ungovernable if President Jonathan was stopped from running in 2015.

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