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Monday, February 9, 2015

NIGERIA POLL SHIFT: UNITED STATES DISAPPOINTED, SAYS POLITICAL INTERFERENCE WITH INEC UNACCEPTABLE


 The United States government says it is disappointed with the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the general elections earlier scheduled for February 14 and February 28, 2015.

INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, late Saturday night in a press conference confirmed earlier speculations on the poll shift when he announced new dates for the elections, citing advise from the military and security chiefs, who warned that they could not provide adequate security for the elections following the escalated military assault in northeastern Nigeria against the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

However, the United States Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry in the statement he signed on Saturday after the INEC announcement, said: “Political interference with the Independent National Electoral Commission is unacceptable, and it is critical that the government not use security concerns as a pretext for impeding the democratic process. The international community will be watching closely as the Nigerian government prepares for elections on the newly scheduled dates. The United States underscores the importance of ensuring that there are no further delays.


“As I reaffirmed when I visited Lagos last month, we support a free, transparent, and credible electoral process in Nigeria and renew our calls on all candidates, their supporters, and Nigerian citizens to maintain calm and reject election-related violence.”

Meanwhile, the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), whose presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, is way ahead of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in opinion polls, has also expressed disappointment with the rescheduling of the polls.

However, the PDP, which championed the poll shift, said hailed the decision of the electoral commission.


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