2015: Chekwas Okorie of UPP condemns the clamour for postponement of the General Election
From Henry Uwalaka
The presidencial candidate of United Progressive Party UPP, Chief (DR.) Chekwas Okorie has condemned in a strong voice the clamour to postponed the date of 2015 General Election to another date outside the dates and timetable announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in February 2014 with the reason that a great number of Nigerians will be disenfranchised having not been given their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) which is their power to decide who lead them from 2015, saying that such reason is contrived as over 80% of legible voters has received their PVCs and 90% will receive by the end of the closing date of 8th February.
He stressed that 90% of legible voters is a pass mark for every country to go to the poll.
According to Chekwas Okorie in a press conference, “In every democracy, 80% participation will make for a legitimate election. In fact, no country in the world including the United States of America, the most advanced democracy in the world has achieved 80% participation in their general elections in their entire history.
“Still on the vicious propaganda to postpone the 2015 general election as scheduled,
the recent assurance by the security agencies in Nigeria especially the military led by the Chief of Defence Staff, guaranteeing adequate security on land and air for a successful and safe conduct of the 2015 general election ought to have settled the fears about the security of lives and property as well as the electorate and INEC officials. The reasons being advanced by those making this satanic proposal are not convincing at all. The security challenge in the North East of Nigeria has defied immediate solution after a State of Emergency imposed by the Federal Government of Nigeria has been extended three consecutive times. The Governors of the States under attack by the insurgents have not complained either to the Independent National Electoral Commission or the Executive and Legislative arms of Government that their citizens will be disenfranchised if elections were held in their States. The Independent National Electoral Commission is the only regulatory authority empowered by law to alter the dates of the election. INEC has repeatedly assured Nigerians that the elections will hold as scheduled and that it is prepared to deliver to the Nigerian people the most credible and transparent election in the annals of the history of the conduct of elections in Nigeria. It is therefore amazing why some highly placed persons should be canvassing for a course of action that is a sure recipe for anarchy.
“While we urge INEC to do whatever that is humanly possible to ensure that all registered voters receive their PVCs since all Nigerians have the inalienable right to exercise their franchise in a general election of this nature, even if it means further extending the date and time of distribution of the PVC to the eve of the general election, we at the same time urge all the registered voters in Nigeria who have not collected their PVCs to make all efforts to collect them because it is only their votes in a democracy that can determine the quality of government that we shall have after the election. It will take another four years to correct any mistake we may make if wrong persons assume the leadership of Nigeria after the elections.
The UPP presidential flag bearer frowned on the attitude and utterances of the leaders of Peoples Democratic Party PDP and that of All Progressive Congress APC which he said is capable of causing tension in the forthcoming general election. “I am bewildered at the actions and utterances of leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) in what has become very inciting and provocative altercations in the name of campaign propaganda. It is more worrisome that this trend has assumed more dangerous momentum after the Abuja Peace Accord in which all the Political Parties and their Presidential candidates signed.
“The media establishments seem to publish whatever materials sponsored by these two Political Parties for publication without censor. Supporters of the Presidential Candidates who are neither campaign officials nor Party officers have also jumped into the fray threatening fire and brimstone if their preferred candidates did not win the election, irrespective of whether the process leading to the election is credible and transparent. The security agencies appear helpless in the face of these open threats to public order.
“Inasmuch as I am interested and working hard to be elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will not subscribe to attacking the person or personality of the incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan because the sanctity of the office he occupies most not be desecrated or denigrated. Similarly, a respected Elder-statesman and former Head of State of Nigeria General Muhammadu Buhari deserves the highest respect that should accrue to a person of his standing whether or not he is contesting for the office of President.
“If Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is defeated in this election which is what am working hard to achieve as a contestant for the office of President, he will not be the first incumbent to lose in an election to continue in office. There is no reason to threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria because of his failure to win in a democratic contest. In the same token if General Muhammadu Buhari is defeated in the 2015 General Election, he will not be the first person to lose election after four attempts. The legendry Abraham Lincoln, a onetime President of the United States of America, achieved his ambition to be President in his sixth attempt at Presidential elections. If I win the 2015 Presidential Election, which is my desire and ambition in this contest, I will not be the first to cause an upset in such contest and win the election. There is no reason why any of these scenarios should cause a national insurrection.
“I wish to pledge that if I lose the 2015 Presidential election I will not hesitate for a minute to congratulate the winner and offer him my hand of fellowship in the interest of the stability and progress of our dear country “Nigeria. I challenge President Goodluck Jonathan and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to make similar pledges to the nation. I believe that public pledge of this nature shall send the appropriate signals to the candidates attack dogs who are masquerading as their supporters and loyalists.”
He urge all major stakeholders, especially well-meaning Political Parties and their Presidential candidates, the Independent National Electoral Commission and the National Assembly as well as all the security agencies in the country to stand together to ensure that the 2015 General Election is conducted as scheduled and guarantee that Nigeria survives to face another general election in 2019.
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