Attahiru Jega, chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has told his aides that he plans to inform tomorrow’s meeting of the Council of State that his commission is fully prepared for the February 14, 2015 elections. According to INEC sources who spoke to SaharaReporters, Mr. Jega indicated that he also intended to brief the council on a few outstanding minor logistical issues which he said INEC would be able to take care of in the next week.
The chair of the electoral commission however expressed concern that the Nigerian armed forces, despite openly claiming to be fully prepared for the elections, had refused to meet with INEC to discuss specific roles that each of would play in order to help safeguard electoral materials and distribute them across the nation.
One source said that some INEC officials believe that the military’s uncooperative attitude arose from a scheme by President Goodluck Jonathan and his supporters to frustrate the elections. As far back as October 2014, SaharaReporters had disclosed that Mr. Jonathan was less interested in the elections than in the elongation of his tenure.
Mr. Jonathan called a meeting of the Council of State to hold in Abuja tomorrow, February 5. Our sources said the president’s major agenda was to persuade former Nigerian leaders, some state governors and opposition figures to agree to the idea of postponing the elections for at least two months. The president’s main argument, according to those familiar with the scheme, is that INEC was ill-prepared to hold elections on February 14.
One source told our correspondent that Mr. Jonathan had secured the full support of former military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, for the postponement of the elections. Mr. Babangida’s political legacy included annulling the June 12, 1993 presidential polls, an action that precipitated a major political crisis in Nigeria for several years. The election had been described by local and foreign observers as freest and fairest.
A source told SaharaReporters that former President Olusegun Obasanjo plans to boycott tomorrow’s meeting of the Council of States. As at press time, our correspondence was unable to find out if Muhammed Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), plans to attend the council meeting. An aide of Mr. Buhari’s said the presidential candidate would lead opposition governors to the council in order to fight against the extension.
Should Mr. Jonathan succeed in postponing the election by two months, Mr. Jega would be approximately one month away from the end of his tenure. , the President will send him on a terminal leave and bring in his replacement to conduct the election, but Saharareporters has learnt that the President doesn’t have any interest in conducting elections instead he is interested in pushing for a two-year Interim Government of National Unity to be headed by him. His aides are supposed to meet with the National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu to offer his a position as the VP slot on the IGNU.