Former civilian governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa has said that there would be massive protest by Nigerians if the forthcoming general elections are shifted again.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had earlier shifted the 2015 general elections from February 14 and 28 to March 28 and April 11 respectively, citing the inability of security agencies to guarantee security as one of the reasons.
However, speaking with newsmen yesterday, shortly after a meeting of the national executive committee of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Musa who is the national chairman of the deregistered party said election could hold with or without the insurgency in a small portion of the country.
He warned that powers-that-be should not take Nigerians for a ride, saying that no Nigerian is a slave just as the country does not belong to any group of Nigerians.
He said, “If election is shifted again, majority of Nigerians will oppose it. They will demonstrate against it, Nigerians will come out massively to oppose it because another shift will not be in their interest. Another shift will mean that government wants to remain in power.
“If therefore a six weeks delay is the sacrifice which Nigerians have to make to ensure that every registered voter is given an opportunity to exercise (or not to exercise) his constitutional right to vote, so be it. But Nigerians cannot tolerate shifting of election dates anymore.
“We will not tolerate another shift because we are not any body’s slaves, we are free people, and this country is free, this country belongs to all of us. It does not belong to a clique.
“The continuation of Boko Haram activities is not an excuse to shift election again because Boko Haram is occupying less than 14 percent of Nigeria, we can tolerate this. We should conduct election in spite of the insurgency. The moment we can have free, fair and transparent election, leading to eligible government in the country, even Boko Haram will respect such government, and they will go to a negotiating table. It is unfortunate that to contest a presidential election in this country, one needs N50 billion to use for campaign. So I believe that both Jonathan and Buhari must have respectively raised the money. They are contesting, so they must have the money.
“None of them should deceive himself that he cannot get the money. Both of them are in power both at the state and federal levels. PDP has the federal government and 21 states, and APC has 14 states, so they are in government.
“The situation in the country has continued to nosedive and the impact of this on the material well being and circumstances of the mass of our people continue to bite very hard. All of this is happening in the midst of unabated and unmitigated profligacy, institutionalized stealing of public resources and the political unaccountability of the ruling class represented principally by the chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) and its shadow ‘opposition’ the All Progressives Congress, (APC).
“When we turn to the security situation in the country, matters are not better. Again things remain as bad as they were if not worse. Boko Haram continues to wax strong in spite of all the exaggerated claims by President Jonathan and his security chiefs that they are on top of the situation.
“For us in the PRP and other parties and organizations in the Credible Alternative Alliance (CAA) the postponement of the elections was necessary and inevitable, not for the security excuses proffered by INEC, but because of the poor handling of the distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) by INEC.
“This is because the right to vote is an entitlement protected by the constitution of the country and so cannot simply be wished away, expunged or nullified by any measure whatsoever, administrative or otherwise, emanating from any government agency and certainly not INEC.”