The dates for the general election in February may be hanging in the balance as Nigeria’s NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), was quoted as calling for postponement to give INEC more time to distribute about 30 million permanent voter cards (PVCs) to eligible voters who are yet to get their PVCs.
But INEC has reacted to the call, insisting that there was no operational reason, including the concerns over the distribution of the PVCs, to postpone the February 14 presidential election and others.
According to Reuters, the NSA said he had discussed the matter with the INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, adding that a delay within the time allowed by the law will not be a bad idea.
“That is what we are encouraging at the moment,” he said, noting that INEC had been able to distribute 30 million PVCs but had an outstanding 30 million others to hand out.
Dasuki, who spoke on Thursday at a talk show at Chatham House, the London think-tank group, further said that although INEC had assured him it would achieve the task in time for the February elections, he thought it would make more sense to take more time. According to him, there is a 90-day window during which the election can legally take place.
Dasuki was said to have told Jega: “It costs you nothing, it’s still within the law,” adding that it was for INEC and not him to decide on the matter. “What sense does it make to vote three months early when there are 30 million cards still with INEC? That’s my position.”
No basis to postpone election – INEC
The commission has however assured that there was no communication from the presidency to postpone the election over complaints of the PVCs distribution and that they are very much on course.
The chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Kayode Idowu, said: “We have not received any official or unofficial communication to that effect. From the point of our operation, the commission has not seen any good basis to postpone the election.”