In order to make sense of the raging controversy regarding the recent assertion credited to the National Security Adiser Dasuki suggesting a cancellation of the February 14 Presidential elections,we obtained the Transcripts of the actual Question and Answer which is emboldened and the actual context in which both were sited.
TRANSCRIPT OF QUESTION AND ANSWER
Question by Theodore Damian
The Royal Highness Sultan of Sokoto said he doesn’t have a voter’s card and i know so many Nigerians who do not have a permanent voter’s card. If you say from your presentation that Nigerians who are eligible to vote would be allowed to do and their vote will count, what is your department doing to ensure that INEC register these people to ensure they have a permanent voter’s card?
Response National Security Adviser:
“The issue of the Sultan’s card. He said it when the president came to visit him. I raised the issue with the INEC chairman and he said that ‘what happened in the case of the Sultan, everybody in his polling unit, their fingerprint were not taken and they have to re-register them.’ Apparently, the Sultan isn’t happy that he hasn’t received his card that as it is taking too long.
“What we said about people voting. Our concern with INEC. The law provides for elections to be conducted not more than 90days before and not less than 30days to the end of an administration. February 14 is closer to the 90days before the end of the tenure.
We raised it with INEC, we said look there is a problem. If you had a year plus and all we are been able to do is distribute, I think, about 50 percent of the cards. We still have about 30million cards to distribute according to them (INEC). Look at the possibility of shifting this thing and doing it when everybody has a card, because it doesn’t cost you anything.
It’s still within the law and it is safer for all of us. So that is what we are encouraging. They keep assuring us that everybody will get his card but I doubt it. If in one year, you distributed 30million, I don’t see how you will distribute another 30million in two weeks. It doesn’t make sense, but well, that is where we are.
Question by Anthony …..
Can I just clarify something, did you say, the NSA, that there should be a delay in elections? And if so when will be the best to hold the elections?
Response by National Security Adviser:
What I said was, there is nothing wrong with us delaying to ensure that everybody that want to vote get that card to vote. This is because, the comment every day we hear is: ‘you can’t vote without a permanent voter’s card.’
If you can’t vote without a permanent voter’s card, what sense does it make to vote three months early when 30million people whose card have not been issued are still with INEC?.
That’s my position. So INEC makes the determination. If you can distribute those cards today, we will all be happy but if you can’t, please consider and look at the other option.