The National Organizing Secretary of the Police Community Relations Committee Nigeria, Hon. Austen Yong, has taken a swipe at those calling on President GoodLuck Jonathan to Sign undertaking that the 2015 elections would not be further shifted nor would his tenure be elongated.
Austen Yong who spoke to reporters in Lagos asked, “Was it the President that shifted the elections? Did the National Council of State not ask the INEC Chairman to make further consultations with Nigerians on the feasibility of conducting the election?”.
“The polls shift was the best for Nigeria because it saved INEC from monumental embarrassment, evidently, they were not prepared”, he added.
Reminded that the INEC Chairman Prof Attahiru Jega had said the polls shift was based on security advises, Mr. Austen quickly responded.
“Security is a collective responsibility. The Army and Security agencies did not create Boko Haram and the insurgency cannot stop without the people’s cooperation; if based on security report the poll was shifted you do not turn round to blame security agencies”.
According to Mr. Austen, there is no way elections would have held except INEC deliberately wanted to disenfranchise 20 Million Nigerians, who were yet to collect their PVCs and you are saying they cannot use their TVC.
Asked if it would be easier to conduct the elections if Nigerians were allowed to used their Temporary Voters cards he advised INEC to evdeavour to give as many Nigerians who genuinely registered, their voters cards adding, “we shouldn’t be talking of TVC now”.
Mr. Austen advised against the use of card readers which INEC has insisted would be used for checking double registration, saying it would be counter -productive.
“There is nothing wrong with the card reader but it could be subject to human error and manipulation. Besides there is no how you can accredit up to 200 persons with that card and you want 500 persons to be accredited per booth”.
Asked to assess the performance of the President, Hon. Austen said, “We do not make political comments but speaking as an individual I think is it only the blind that would say the President has not measured up to expectation.
He decried the quality of electioneering campaigns in the country arguing that they were fraught with mudslinging instead of being issue based.
He advised PCRC members all over the country to embark on intensive advocacy campaigns against electoral violence in all Nigerian communities.
“We shall be thrown 100 years behind civilization if we vote in the wrong persons”, he warned.