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Most Nigerian Political Parties Agree to Election Postponement

  • Peter Clottey

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan (C) leaves a rally with his wife Patience and Vice President Namadi Sambo (L) after declaring his bid for the 2011 presidential poll in Abuja, 18 Sep 2010

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan (C) leaves a rally with his wife Patience and Vice President Namadi Sambo (L) after declaring his bid for the 2011 presidential poll in Abuja, 18 Sep 2010

The spokesman for Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said a majority of the parties participating in next year’s general election agree with the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the scheduled 22nd January presidential election.

Rufai Ahmed Alkali said the governing party has also decided to postpone its primaries to select a presidential aspirant that will lead the PDP in next year’s vote.

“We commended (the commission) for coming out with the timetable, at that time, because time was not on our side. We did note that, at that time, when they issued the timetable, we were already behind schedule. We, as a party, resisted the temptation of making noise because, if we did, or we had done, it would have been misunderstood.”

PDP spokesman Alkali said the ruling party, as well as the government, played a pivotal role “to ensure that we got a new electoral law. And, we are lucky to have a man of integrity to be the chairman of INEC.”

Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan is widely expected to win the nomination from the governing party despite an anticipated stiff challenge from opponents, including his former security adviser.

This week, the electoral body called for a postponement of the January election saying it needed more time to compile a complete voter register list to be used for the elections.

PDP spokesman Alkali said his party is hopeful the postponement will enable the electoral body to prepare for a credible vote.

“As we started our own process of preparation of (the) 2011 elections, now they cried all over the place that time was too short. And, that is why INEC now invited all the political parties to a forum. So, in view of the fact that this agreement has been reached between INEC and major stakeholders, PDP felt that we should jettison our own program until a new timetable comes out from INEC.”

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