Constitutional Amendment, Ploy To Sabotage 2011 Elections – AC


ABUJA, July 19, (THEWILL) - The Action Congress (AC) has cried out over the dangers posed to the success of the 2011 elections by the recent Constitutional amendment, especially Sections 132 and 178, saying the coming into force of these particular provisions must be suspended to ensure free, fair and credible elections next year.

In a statement issued in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the National Assembly must repeat its 'Doctrine of Necessity' - a precedent which the assembly set despite opposition from certain quarters, to suspend the provisions so that they will not be applicable to the 2011 elections, in order not to sabotage the elections, and by extension the country's democracy.

It said failure to do so will confirm the widely held view that the National Assembly, the Presidency and the PDP have long ago concluded plans to double-cross and ambush the opposition just to ensure that the ruling party remains in power, and that the votes of Nigerians do not count again during the crucial polls.

''It will confirm that the delay in carrying out the Constitutional amendment, through pre-arranged needless bickering by the two chambers of the National Assembly, were deliberately orchestrated as a last joker by the PDP and its cohorts to thwart the will of the people, knowing fully well that they have fallen out of favour with Nigerians,'' AC said.

The party said if the amended Sections 132 and 178 were to be used in determining the dates for the 2011 elections into the offices of the President and Governors respectively, that means the elections into the two key positions must be held not later than January 2011.

"That leaves about five months for INEC to organize the elections. Taking into consideration the several holidays between now and the end of the year, in particular the month-long Ramadan period, and the necessary re-organization of the electoral body by the new helmsman, this is not just a daunting but an impossible task for the commission.

"For one, it means INEC is being compelled to rely on the discredited voters' register for the 2011 elections, because there will be no time to compile a fresh register, which is the minimum requirement for the staging of credible polls next year. It will also mean that Prof. Jega is being set up to fail, because INEC no matter the credibility of the man in charge cannot hold successful elections with the discredited voters' register.

"Relying on the amended Constitution, especially Sections 132 and 178, to organize next year's polls is therefore unacceptable to our party, and we are sure to all Nigerians who see the 2011 general elections as the last chance for Nigeria to part ways with election malfeasance and brigandage by organizing free, fair and credible polls that will usher in genuine democracy.

"We are constrained to then call on the National Assembly to once again invoke the 'Doctrine of Necessity', which it employed to resolve an issue that was not even this crucial to the survival of our nation (elevation of then VP Goodluck Jonathan to Acting President), so that INEC can have more time to prepare for and ensure the success of the 2011 general elections.

The party vowed to use all lawful means to stop any attempt to sabotage the 2011 elections through the use of the existing, discredited voters' register, and called on other opposition parties, civil society organizations, professional groups, the international community and indeed all Nigerians to resist this brazen attempt to ensure that votes do not count next year.

"If the 2011 general elections are allowed to go the way of the 2007 polls, we can all say good bye to democracy in Nigeria, with all its dire consequences!'' AC warned.