- Category: Politics
- Published on Thursday, 09 September 2010 08:24
- Written by Nigerian Tribune
- Hits: 1179
THE Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said that the January date set for the general election is not realiseable, and that the election should be held in April.
ACN, in a release signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday, warned that the change in date was necessary, so that the country would not repeat its history of electoral woes.
The party said in order to prevent the billions of naira to be spent on the elections from going down the drain, the National Assembly must show uncommon patriotism by suspending the operation of the amended constitution until after the 2011 elections, so that INEC could conduct the elections in April.
“The problem of impossible timelines which the elections face now was not created by INEC, but by the choreographed delayed amendment of the Constitution by the National Assembly. By releasing the timetable, therefore, INEC has simply demonstrated its readiness to comply with both the provisions of the new Electoral Act and the amended Constitution,’’ it said.
ACN said that in reality, INEC knew that elections could not be held in January 2011 for many reasons. According to the party, “from our investigations, INEC is yet to award the contract for the procurement of the 120,000 DDC needed for the fresh voter registration. It will take a minimum of 10 weeks from the date of award for the machines to arrive in Nigeria, and INEC will require a minimum of three weeks to complete registration and display the new register for claims and objections.”
ACN said it would take another eight weeks or at least 45 days to integrate the data from the over 120,000 polling units before INEC could commence printing of new voters cards. It stated that it was clear that INEC could have the new voter register ready before 21 weeks from yesterday (Wednesday).
The party said even if the contract for the procurement of the 120,000 DDC machines was to be awarded, on Wednesday, it would bring the election to the first or second week in February 2011.
“This is already way past the month of January for which the elections have been scheduled,’’ the party said.
The ACN said no one could blame INEC for the situation, but that the blame should be laid squarely at the door of the National Assembly, which wasted so much time before the new Electoral Act and the amended constitution were enacted into law, even as the latter was being challenged by the presidency at the Supreme Court.
“We know for sure that it was clearly not the intention of the PDP-dominated National Assembly to give us a new credible voter register, hence the new law prescribing elections for January. In fact, until Nigerians kicked against it, the old voter register was to be used for the conduct of the 2011 polls, which would have sealed the fate of the polls.”
The ACN added that there was nothing sacrosanct about elections being conducted in January 2011.