Credible Elections: Walk your talk, APC tells Jonathan

By The Citizen

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to walk his talk concerning his promise to ensure free and fair elections in the country in 2015.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party urged the President to go beyond mere rhetoric and take concrete actions to ensure that the elections in the country are not marred by the intimidation and harassment of opposition party members and supporters as well as the deliberate disenfranchisement of voters, which hallmarked the Anambra and Ekiti gubernatorial elections, among others.

'On the same day the President's latest assurances of a free, fair, credible and transparent elections in 2015 were being reported, agents of the Jonathan-led federal government were ransacking the offices of a company hired to carry out an opinion poll for Osun State ahead of the 9 Aug. gubernatorial election.

'If the opposition can no longer freely carry out opinion polls, if the companies hired to carry out such polls are harassed and intimidated by SSS officials as they did to tnsrms, the offices of which were searched for six hours, after which top officials of the firm were dragged to the SSS offices in Shangisha and computers carted away, then how can any President convince anyone that free and fair elections can be held under his watch?

'If the Ngozi Okonjo Iweala-linked NOI polling firm has never been harassed for its choreographed opinion polls that favour the Jonathan Administration, why should other firms be subjected to the kind of Gestapo- tactics that tnsrms was exposed to? This is why we are asking President Jonathan to walk to talk.

'Jega should be asked to explain why is it that the troops who were sent to provide security for the Ekiti election were harassing and intimidating only the opposition? Why is it that they were arresting only opposition members? Is that also part of providing security for an election? If soldiers had only provided non-intrusive security for the election, perhaps no one would have complained. But where they turned themselves into the enforcement arm of the ruling party, everyone, including INEC, should be concerned,' APC said.

The party called on President Jonathan to refrain from deploying the military for election purposes and read the riot act to his cabinet members, like Musiliu Obanikoro and Abduljelili Adesiyna, and party officials who specialised in electoral malfeasance.

'Saying one thing and doing the opposite, Mr. President, will not translate to credible elections. The world is watching,' it said.