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INEC no longer ‘independent’ – Sen Jonah Jang

Christiana Gokyo, Jos

Senator representing Plateau state’s Northern Senatorial Zone, who is former governor of Plateau state, Senator Jonah D. Jang, has said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is no more independent, as it is being manipulated by the government of the day. “This is unfortunate for our democracy that some of us fought for,” he asserted.

The Senator was reacting on the postponement of the general election that was to hold on Saturday, 16/2/2019 to 23/2/2019, to newsmen in his residence in Du, Jos South local government area of the state.

He said, the PDP ‘surrendered’ power, after ruling for 16 years, to APC and the APC has made a very bad job for Nigerians in governing Nigeria in the last almost 4 years. He reiterated that the APC is afraid to conduct election and they are manipulating the INEC. “If you could recall, I am one of the founding fathers of G18 and GI6,” Jang said.

Hon. Dachung Musa Bagos, who is PDP’s House of Representatives candidate representing Jos South/Jos East federal constituency in the forthcoming elections, has blown hot over the postponement of the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections, through an interview.

While responding to Festus Keyamo’s statement, Hon Bagos said “Over the weeks and months, we were wondering why APC are not serious with the campaigns just like the PDP are doing; we wondered what is really gonna play out. This has confirmed to us that there was a strategic plan to really postpone these elections.”

According to him, Mr Keyamo’s statement stated that “the PDP once postponed elections 6 weeks to the time. I won’t say, ‘postpone’ but rather say, shifted the elections 6 weeks to the time.

“But the APC has broken the world record of postponing an election six hours to the time. That’s a world record that they’ve just broken,” he noted.

According to him, “I don’t know when APC will stop the blame game. Even in their own failure, they’re still blaming the PDP for the postponement. Check the indices – before now, people have complained about Amina Zakari chairing the logistics committee. Few days to the election, the AGF had written a letter to INEC to postpone the election, and it has happened.”

He observed that, “there was a national and international cry against Amina Zakari chairing the logistics department. Now that it has happened, they’re still trying to blame the PDP as if they’re not the ones in power. Among Nigeria’s 180 million people are very intelligent people, who can ascertain what is truly going on. It baffles me; we are not a chicken republic, they should realize that we are more intelligent than that,” he noted.

“It’s quite unfortunate because what happened is the opposite of what the Constitution says, which is ‘Nigeria sovereignty of the people.’ What happened is rather the sovereignty of ‘some’ people.’ APC are playing a mind game on Nigerians because they know how prepared Nigerians are; you can feel the pulse all over,” he said.

“There are people, who have never voted before, who have decided to do it this year for the first time. Some have traveled from as far as the UK. I know someone, who has only three days left to go back to work in the UK.

“They’re trying to demoralize people from coming out to vote. A similar thing happened in Osun, when people came out enmass to vote, but when elections were cancelled and a rerun was done, people became relaxed,” he stated.

“We are calling on Nigerians to double the momentum and make sure we sustain it. If it means for us to make donations to make sure that people are not stranded, we shall do it; they can delay it but they cannot stop Nigeria from working again.

“Even from the INEC statement, there is no single line of apology to Nigerians for postponing the elections. Read the statement carefully. They feel as if they’re ruling a ward or local government. We’re talking about 180 million Nigerians here.

“They are not even remorseful. If it were in a developed country, after making this statement, the INEC chairman would say, ‘I hereby resign from my position as an INEC chairman.’”

According to him, “Amina Zakari by now is supposed to have been suspended. Things must change in this country. Good governance has to do with strong institution; the APC has shown that they lack capacity.

“The economic implications of the postponement – because of the sympathy you have for a political party, you are saying that it’s not a problem because this is not the first time elections have been postponed. Don’t also forget that in 2011 and 2015, there was enough time. The notice came on time.”

According to him, “What has happened today has increased the poverty index of Nigerians because a lot of people have spent billions of naira, the candidates, civil society and even the electorates have spent resources. There are people, who have cooked through the night to sell during the election period.

“We’re going to translate that anger to double our campaigns and sustain the pressure, more than what we’ve done before. We’re going back to the streets to canvas for more votes.”

He called on Nigerians and people on the Plateau to “Remain firm; it would not stop us from making Nigeria work again. We would double our efforts and voter-sensitization. We will not give up; if we do, it means we have given up on Nigeria. We will not give up on Nigeria because Nigeria is the sovereignty of this country,” he said.

Also, the APC Senatorial Candidate for Plateau North, Hon. Rufus Bature, has warned that no unsealed materials should be used for the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday.

Hon. Bature, who is former Secretary to the State Government of Plateau state, said “Having taken four years to prepare, the body cannot be expected to reprint election materials within a week, for fear of a leak.”

He spoke in an interview, while reacting to the postponement, saying he however, hoped nothing has happened to those materials, and any box that is opened will not be used.

Hon. Rufus Bature, who was visibly exhausted from campaigns and other exercises preparatory to the polls, said the shift was “least expected,” and urged his supporters to remain firm in pushing for his emergence as Senator for the benefit of Plateau Northern Senatorial District.

 

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