Good afternoon gentlemen and welcome to this press conference.
During my last press conference on January 29th, I alerted the nation to the fact that the advocates of the postponement of this month’s general elections have resorted to using the courts to disqualify our presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and scuttle the polls.
This followed the obvious failure of their clandestine campaign to have the elections postponed ostensibly because of the poor distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
Despite sponsoring pseudo-experts and cash-and-carry analysts to make the television rounds to canvass for the postponement of the election, in addition to instigating protests against INEC, Nigerians have rejected the call for election shift, which is a big blow to those who want the elections postponed to give the Jonathan Administration time to recover lost ground.
The advocates of election shift may have retreated, but they have not given up their push to scuttle the elections. In fact, a conference organized on Monday to consider the effects of the National Conference on the 2015 elections was turned into a campaign for election postponement by the usual culprits.
The election-postponement campaigners have now returned to the drawing board to plot another move to make sure the elections do not hold, and that precisely is why we have called this press conference.
Despite their defeat in the court of public of opinion, the no-election proponents are now working hard on their back-up plan, which is to force a constitutional crisis that will ultimately lead to their goal: Interim Government!
And the courts and tribunals are the main tools to be used in pursuing this devilish plot.
They have restrategised to procure ‘pliant judges’ to give outrageous and unpopular judgement at election tribunals and courts, judgement that are capable of destabilising the polity
Their hope is that such outrageous and unpopular judgement will help trigger massive violence across the country, which they will then leverage as an excuse to scuttle the elections and form an Interim Government.
At the last count, six cases have been filed by the agents of those working to scuttle the elections, and we expect more. In one of the cases, Justice Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday gave the order for a substituted service in the case instituted by Max Uzoaka against our candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari
Make no mistake about it, the Jonathan Administration and the PDP do not want elections, despite their deceitful statements that they are ready for the polls, and they will stop at nothing to ensure that the polls do not hold as scheduled, if at all.
This is why they have not been asking Nigerians to go and collect their PVCs, even when INEC has said the cards for all registered voters are now ready for collection, putting a lie to the campaign that the cards will not be ready before the elections.
That is why they have refused hordes of foreign journalists visas to come to Nigeria. As we said earlier, the denial of visas to foreign journalists is systemic, aimed at preventing the international community from seeing or watching the desperate plots to scuttle the elections. An Administration that has nothing to hide will not embark on a deliberate move to shut foreign journalists out of what is definitely one of the most important elections in the world this year.
In addition to using the courts, they have resorted to lobbying some members of the Council of State to support their clamour for election postponement. We hope the Council, which is due to meet later in the week, will put national interest above narrow, partisan considerations and reject the poisoned chalice of election postponement.
We call on local and international Observers to take note of the scheming by the election-postponement campaigners. This is because if they succeed, Observers will have no elections to observe. We urge them to note that since election is a process, and not restricted to election day alone, all the steps leading to the elections are as important as the actual voting.itself. Therefore, we implore them to take note of the systemic shutout of foreign journalists from the forthcoming polls, which is a ploy to shut out the international community from the elections..
We urge the Council of State not to allow itself to be used to scuttle the forthcoming elections, because it is in the interest of Nigeria and her people that the elections proceed as scheduled.
We call on Nigerians to remain vigilant, especially in the days ahead, and to continue to reject all attempts by anti-democratic forces to cling to or get power through means that are not democratic. We urge our members and supporters in particular to eschew violence under any guise, even in the face of the most egregious provocations, so as not to play into the hands of those working to scuttle the elections.
If the Jonathan Administration and the PDP are indeed committed to the Feb. 14th and 28th dates for the elections, as they have said, we challenge them to heed our call for a two-day public holiday so that working class Nigerians who have yet to collect their PVCs can do so. By the way, APC states will declare two public holidays for this purpose.
We will also like to repeat our appeal to the judiciary to act as a bulwark against any attempt to truncate our nation’s hard-earned democracy by refusing to be used to scuttle the elections. We consider it an insult to the judiciary for the advocates of election shift to believe they can use their dirty funds to influence the course of justice. We believe the judiciary will not take this bait.
On our part, we will not relent in speaking out against ongoing efforts to scuttle the elections. The APC is ready for the elections as scheduled. The PDP and the Jonathan Administration should stop their scheming and get themselves ready for the elections too. Nigerians have seen through them, and have rejected their evil plots.
The elections dates of Feb. 14th and 28th are sacrosanct!
I thank you.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)
Lagos, Feb. 3rd 2015
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