By Adeola Oladele
The demand for a postponement of the 2015 election is growing. The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation has joined the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), in the call for a shift of the election.
Like Dasuki, the group also predicated its call on the state of distribution of Permanent Voter Cards, saying it is not feasible for credible poll to hold when majority of voters are yet to collect their PVCs.
Afenifere spoke after a meeting in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Chaired by the leader of the group, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, the meeting also had in attendance Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Chief Olu Falae, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Chief Seinde Arogbofa among others.
The communique was read by the Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin.
If postponed slightly, the election can still meet the May 29 handover date.
According to Afenifere, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has not demonstrated enough determination to conduct free and fair elections.
The communique reads: “The constitution says election should hold not earlier than 150 days to handover date and not later than 30 days. INEC has chosen February 14. For us, May 29 is sacrosanct, there is no controversy over this.
“Within those days between February 14 and 30 days to May 29, INEC has a window to make sure that most voters are not disenfranchised. If INEC is able to give all registered voters their PVC before February 14, all well and good.
“Meeting viewed with seriousness the sheer incompetence on the part of INEC. The INEC that wanted to create 30,000 polling units few weeks to the election has yet to distribute almost 30 million voter cards. When you look at the table INEC has given, what they tell us is that in each state, this is the PVC received, hiding the total number of registered voters.
“As at today, over 15 million voters out of the one collected have not received their cards. This is 54 million. There are 14 million voter cards that are yet to arrive the country. If we put them together, it is almost half of the total electorate that are yet to collect their voter cards.
“The assurance by the INEC chairman that he will distribute cards a day to the election is not reassuring. If you have failed to do it before now, what is the assurance that he is going to do it now?
“We want to warn that any election conducted on the basis of disenfranchising almost half of the electorate, the outcome will not be credible or acceptable.”
However, the group waxed partisan when it said the people of the South-west should not support the All Progressives Congress in the election.
Afenifere spokesman Odumakin said: “The 2014 National Conference has become a campaign issue. Anybody that did not participate in it or does not believe in it does not love our people”.
He added: “They want to drag them into slavery. With the report of 2014, we believe we have crossed Jordan, we are yet to get to the promise land but we should not be sent to Egypt.
“As far as Afenifere is concerned, the presidential election is to decide between two options, freedom or slavery. We have elected to choose freedom, freedom from bondage, internal enslavement and internal colonialism that holds most Nigerians down under the bastion of domination and we are convinced that the 2014 national conference report has laid the basis for the proper restructuring of the country.”