Niyi Odebode and Olaleye Aluko
The 2015 general election came to the fore again on Tuesday with former President Goodluck Jonathan and an ex-Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, expressing different views about it.
Jonathan said he was disappointed by Jega’s insistence on conducting the elections in February 2015.
An online newspaper, The Cable, reported on Tuesday that Jonathan disclosed this in a book, “Against the Run of Play” written by the chairman of THISDAY editorial board, Mr. Segun Adeniyi.
The 2015 general election were initially scheduled for February 14, 2015, but the Jonathan administration shifted it by six weeks. The action was greeted by strong criticism from some Nigerians.
The former President, according to the report, said when Jega was insistent on conducting the elections in February 2015, about 40 per cent eligible Nigerians had not collected their Permanent Voter Cards.
Jonathan was quoted to have said, “I was disappointed by Jega because I still cannot understand what was propelling him to act the way he did in the weeks preceding the election.
“As at the first week in February 2015 when about 40 per cent of Nigerians had not collected their PVCs, Jega said INEC was ready to conduct an election in which millions of people would be disenfranchised.”
According to the report, Jonathan said he met with Jega to express his reservations about the preparedness of INEC for the elections.
According to him, the former chairman insisted that the election would go ahead.
He stated, “Of course, the Americans were encouraging him to go ahead yet they would never do such a thing in their own country. How could we have cynically disenfranchised about a third of our registered voters for no fault of theirs and still call that a credible election?
“The interesting thing was that the opposition also supported the idea of going on with the election that was bound to end in confusion.”
Jonathan was also reported to have defended his decision to postpone the election, saying it was for security reasons.
“When the military and security chiefs demanded more time to deal with the insurgency, the reasons were genuine,” he said.
“As of February 2015, it would have been very difficult to vote in Gombe, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. But the moment all the arms and ammunition that had been ordered finally arrived, the military was able to use them to degrade the capacity of Boko Haram to the level in which they posed the threat to the election.”
In his reactions, the spokesperson for the former INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu,said Jega would not take issue with anyone over an election, adjudged globally as credible.
Idowu, who was the Chief Press Secretary to Jega, said, “Well, it is not in the habit of Prof Jega to take issue with what is already a fact of history. It is a fact that an election and it is a fact of history that the election globally was adjudged to have been credible. (Punchng.com)