Nigerian opposition rejects poll delay proposal

Nigerian opposition rejects poll delay proposal
# 23 January 2015 00:20 (UTC +04:00)
"The All Progressive Congress (APC) is opposed to the plot by the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) to postpone next month's general elections as is currently being canvassed by National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki," party spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement.
Millions of Nigerians will go to the polls on Feb. 14 to elect a new president and parliament.
Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan is standing for reelection against Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler running on the APC's ticket, along with at least 12 other hopefuls.
Dasuki was quoted as telling an audience at the Chatham House think-tank in London that he had asked Nigeria's electoral commission to delay the polls, citing logistical problems related to the delivery of biometric voter cards.
In its statement, however, the opposition dismissed the proposal as "ill-advised."
"We smelt the plot; that this unpopular PDP federal government would do anything to stay put in power," Shehu said.
"Elongation of [his] term had always been on the president's agenda. No wonder he and his party want the election delayed or cancelled outright to affect an extension of their lackluster administration," he claimed.
Dasuki asserted that any delay of elections would test the patience of the Nigerian people.
"Nobody can scuttle our hard-earned democracy in Nigeria," he said.
Electoral commission spokesman Kayode Idowu could not be reached for immediate comment.
Nigeria elects new leaders every four years. Failure to hold the planned polls, therefore, could lead to a constitutional crisis, which could in turn precipitate further political crises.
For the first time since its independence from the U.K., Nigeria has a political opposition that is almost as influential as the ruling party.
This has made the upcoming poll one of the country's most hard-fought to date, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter.
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