No plans to shift 2011 polls, says Presidency

AGAINST the backdrop of claims that there were plans to postpone the elections scheduled for next year, the Presidency yesterday faulted the rumour, assuring that “the march towards ensuring free and fair elections in 2011 is on course.

The Presidency described a report in a national daily (not The Guardian) that there are such plans as “outright falsehood.

It said that such reports are a figment of the imagination of the writers, “as there is no truth in the report that persons close to President Goodluck Jonathan are plotting to extend his stay in power for between six months and two years, because of the inadequate time to complete the ongoing fundamental reforms in the polity.”

The presidential spokesman, Mr. Ima Niboro, added in a statement that the report was another attempt to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians, through a flagrant display of irresponsibility.

According to him, “the issue of tenure is a constitutional affair and the Presidency has a specified tenure of four years, and not one day more. At the end of the specified tenure, elections must be held. As far as we (The Presidency) are concerned, the march towards ensuring free and fair elections in 2011 is on course.”

He explained that the President’s immediate priorities remained how to tackle numerous challenges currently facing the nation and as such, any talk of tenure elongation was a distraction.

Such challenges, according to the statement, include how to increase and improve electricity generation, electoral reforms, security of lives and property at all times, low level infrastructural development and growing youth unemployment, among others.

He implored Nigerians to discountenance the report in its entirety, adding that we must all remain committed to the principles and letters of the Nigerian constitution. This is the only way we can guarantee our success as a nation.

Meanwhile, as the 2011 draws near, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Iyom Josephine Anenih has called on the civil society and women based Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) to scrutinize persons vying for political and elective offices to ensure that their plans and manifestos were in tandem with the aspirations of the people.

Addressing a high-level meeting on Gender Responsive Budgeting yesterday in Abuja, the minister said that the present administration was committed to ensuring the reform of the electoral system. She cautioned Nigerian women not to vote for any person who cannot articulate how to help them achieve their goals in life or improve their current status as it is in their power to ensure that best candidates emerge at the end of the day.

She said: “We are fortunate to have a government that is committed to electoral reform, your vote will count, therefore use this opportunity to scrutinise persons putting themselves up for public office. Ask them about their plans and read their manifestos if they cannot articulate how to help you achieve your goals in life or improve your current status, do not vote them in. This time, let us all take responsibility for who gets into office.



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