By Tunde Rahman in Abuja
The Council of States ended its crucial meeting a few minutes ago with a decision to leave the matter of the holding of the elections as scheduled on February 14 to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
At the meeting the only agenda was the issue of the postponement of the election first mooted by the National Security Adviser Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Briefing State House Correspondent as he emerged from the meeting, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha said: “It was one of an unusual Council of State meetings that took over seven hours deliberating on a very sensitive issue as to whether INEC is prepared for the elections or not and whether there is need for the change of dates of these elections.
“INEC has said they are very ready to conduct these elections and the security agencies have shown concerns about certain local governments where they have security challenges. But INEC has the power to conduct elections including fixing dates of elections.
“The Council rose with a decision that INEC should then inform the nation as to their preparedness and proceed to conduct the elections”.
“The Council has asked INEC to perform its civic responsibility which is to conduct election. That is what we rose to agree. It was a very challenging moment and INEC has reaffirmed severally that they are ready. But because of the concerns of the security agencies in few local governments, the Council asked INEC to go and perform its civic responsibility.
“There is no decision as to change of dates or postponement at all….Jega has reassured us that they are equal to the task. Infact, they are more prepared than they were in 2011”.
Present at the meeting were former Heads of State and military presidents like General Yakubu Gowon, General Muhammadu Buhari, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was absent.
But also in attendance were former President Shehu Shagari and former Head of Interim Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Senate President David Mark, House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and virtually all the state governors.