A ballot box filled with ballot is pictured before being counted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at a polling station in Yenagoa in Bayelsa State ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Abuja - The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been urged to use the extra time provided by postponement to perfect its methodology for the 2015 general elections.
The elections, earlier slated for February 14 and February 28, have been shifted to March 28 and April 11.
Dr Amadu Ali, the Director-General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, gave the advice at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
"From all indications, INEC is not fully prepared for the elections.
"This is as a result of complaints from about 30 million Nigerians who have yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in spite of the extension of deadline for collection.
"I wonder how it will be possible to have credible elections when millions of Nigerians are disenfranchised because of lack of PVCs," he said.
The director-general further said that reports of inadequate number of ballot boxes and training of staff for the elections all pointed to the fact that INEC was ill-prepared.
Ali wondered if INEC had a credible alternative plan in a situation where voters were lined up and the card readers refused to work.
He advised that the card readers should be tried and tested during INEC’s training of its operators.
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On the country's security situation, the former PDP National Chairman said more military personnel needed to be on ground for the elections.
This, he said, was necessary to forestall any breakdown of law and order and prevent political miscreants from tarnishing the electoral process.
Ali, however, added that Nigeria, in conjunction with sub-regional forces, had recorded success in the fight against Boko Haram.
This, he said, was achieved through well-coordinated attacks which repelled the terrorists from all flanks around the country’s North-East region.
"The recent statement by the U.S., which claimed that Boko Haram has a possible strike force of about 6,000 foot soldiers, is an indication of the size of the security risk the country is dealing with," Ali said.
On the distribution of PVCs in Borno, the campaign director-general wondered how the state, which was under siege, could record the collection of more PVCs than Lagos State.
Ali further stressed the need for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the North-East to go back home and vote.
He said President Goodluck Jonathan had been an advocate of one-man-one-vote and had remained unchanged in his resolve to bequeath a legacy of conducting free and fair elections.
"For this reason, conducting the elections without the active participation of the IDPs will negate this resolve.
"There may also be constitutional issues should the elections hold without the participation of the IDPs," Ali said.