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INEC Says To Meet With Parties, Electoral Commissioners Saturday Before Final Decision On Poll Shift

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SAN FRANCISCO, February 06, (THEWILL) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will meet with chairmen and secretaries of all registered political parties this Saturday before it will make public its final decision on whether the general elections would proceed as scheduled on February 14 and February 28, 2015.

The electoral commission in a statement Friday afternoon in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city, said the meeting will be a follow up to Thursday's meeting of the National Council of State in Abuja, where the Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega briefed members on the preparedness of the commission for the polls.

“On Thursday, February 5, 2015, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, was invited to brief the National Council of States (NCS) on the preparedness of INEC to conduct the 2015 general elections. He made a presentation titled “Preparations for the 2015 General Elections: Progress Report.' The National Security Adviser (NSA) and Armed Services Chiefs also briefed the Council on the current security situation.

“As a follow-up to that meeting, the Commission has scheduled a consultative meeting with chairmen and secretaries of all registered political parties, as well as a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Saturday, February 7, 2015.

“Thereafter, the Commission will address a press conference to brief the nation on its decision with regard to whether or not the general elections will hold as currently scheduled,” the statement said.

Nigerians are evenly divided on whether the elections should hold as scheduled. President Goodluck Jonathan, who is doing badly in opinion polls, as well as powerful elements in his ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), want the election delayed for at least six weeks.

The National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Jonathan, Colonel Sambo Dasuki rtd. has called for the postponement of the elections by six weeks, citing security concerns in some states in the north where the war against the Boko Haram is ongoing. Also, some political parties, persons and groups have called for the shift of the polls to enable INEC distribute all voting cards to eligible voters.

But, the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) whose candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator, is way ahead in opinion polls leading to the Presidential election, want the elections to hold as scheduled.