Controversy trails Sambo Dasuki’s alleged call for polls postponement in London


Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, has called for the postponement of the February 2015 election to to allow more time for the distribution of voter cards.

Dasuki who made the call Thursday in London, said the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, needs more time to ensure all qualified Nigerians receive cards for the vote.

The NSA said he told the chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, that a postponement within the three months allowed by the Electoral Act would be a good idea, Reuters news agency reported Thursday.

Dasuki, who spoke at London think-tank Chatham House, said INEC had distributed 30 million cards in 2014, with another 30 million left.

He said while INEC had assured him the distribution would be completed for the February polls, he believed it would be more meaningful to allow more time for a successful election.

“It costs you nothing, it’s still within the law,” Dasuki said he had told the INEC chairman, but said it was for INEC to decide.

However, few hours after the report of Dasuki’s call for the postponement of the election became public, PRNigeria, the public relations arm which issues press statement on behalf of the various security agencies said Dasuki was quoted out of context.

Reproduced bellow is the release by PRNigeria on the Dasuki’s London lecture
Nigeria’s National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki on Thursday gave the assurance that the February general elections will be successful and violence free.
Speaking as a guest of the Chatham House in London.

Dasuki said “the 2015 elections are expected to be relatively peaceful and violence free. The Federal Government has taken all necessary measures to ensure this by making adequate provisions for INEC, security agencies and by supporting numerous sensitisation programs.”

He admitted that there were anxiety in certain quarters about whether elections will hold in the north east and the ability of the government to ensure that the internally displaced will be able to vote but affirmed in the positive.

“Our answer to both of those is yes. As far as is possible we are determined that adequate security will be in place to enable elections in all the areas in the north east that are safe, and that the IDP’s will be provided with the opportunity to exercise their vote”, he explained.

The NSA commended emergence of a strong opposition in the polity, saying it was a sign of the growing maturity of the country’s democracy.

“The emergency of a seemingly viable opposition, as well as the closeness of the race is a clear demonstration of our maturing democracy. Greater voter awareness also means that people are more engaged in the electoral process and determined to protect their right to vote. We on our part are doing all we can to ensure that every Nigerian who wants to vote is able to and that their vote will count.”

Speaking on the theme: Nigeria’s Insecurity: Insurgency, Corruption, Elections and the Management of Multiple Threats, Dasuki demonstrated that Nigeria’s insecurity challenge is both local and global but challenged the international community to show the same and commensurate concern to the rising terrorism in parts of Nigeria as it does in other parts of the world.

He also narrated to them that while Nigeria “continue to face the debilitating effects of corruption we have taken steps to build strong institutions and strengthen our laws in addressing it. As we continue to do this we call on the global community to further address the corrupting influence of big companies and rich countries.

He also told his audience that “successive elections in Nigeria have improved and lessons learnt in 2011 are now being practiced in preparation towards the 2015 elections.

The INEC has a strong team and government has ensured adequate funding and capacity enhancement while putting in place strong coordination mechanisms between the electoral body and other stakeholders.”

“It is my firm belief that Nigeria will emerge stronger, manage her threats better and improve on governance. We are taking these careful but sure steps at the moment. The terrorist threat has focused us on the right path.

“We have developed a new national security strategy that puts our people at the heart of our efforts, a national counter terrorism strategy that employs both hard and soft power and an economic revitalization plan that will bring succour to those most vulnerable and those affected by violence. We continue to reach out to members of the international community to stand with us as we strive to build a united and prosperous country”, he concluded.

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