Mimiko,Rochas Give Contradictory Report On Council Of State Decision On Feb Poll

THE National Council of State on Thursday reaffirmed the sole power of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over election timetable and, therefore, did not pressurise the electoral umpire to shift the dates already fixed for the elections.
After about seven-hour marathon meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday, the council decided that INEC should consider its advice and take necessary steps on the conduct of the election.
Noting that the council was essentially an advisory body, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, alongside his Imo and Adamawa states counterparts, Rochas Okorocha and James Ngilari, said the electoral body would brief the nation on its final decision.
But Okorocha, in his remarks, said INEC had assured of its readiness for the election and had, therefore, been advised to perform its civic responsibility.
Mimiko said the council essentially deliberated on the state of preparedness of INEC and provided the commission the benefit of input from council members and security chiefs and agencies.
“Based on the very exhaustive discussion and pieces of advice, INEC is constitutionally empowered to brief the nation and then the news will be communicated to you,” he said.
When pressed to comment on the possibility of a shift of the election dates, Mimiko said, “like I made it absolutely clear, I am not INEC chief. INEC will appropriately brief you based on the meeting we just had.
“INEC is going to consult widely with stakeholders and come up with a decision on which it will brief the nation soon.”
He observed that President Jonathan summoned the meeting to enable INEC brief the council on its preparedness, saying “based on what INEC briefed us and based on perception of council members and security agencies, INEC was properly advised and you will hear from INEC.”
But in his contribution, Okorocha said INEC had been advised to perform its civic responsibility against the fact of its assurances that it was ready for the election.
“National Council of State advised INEC to go and perform its civic responsibility, which is to conduct elections. That is what we agreed on.
“It was a very challenging moment and INEC has reaffirmed severally that it is ready, but because of concerns of security agencies in some few local governments, council asked INEC to go and perform its civic responsibilities, which is the conduct of elections.”
Asked if there was a decision on date change, he added that “there is no decision as to change of date, but the council has asked INEC to go and perform its responsibility.”
On the challenges of distributing permanent voter cards, Okorocha observed that the exercise was ongoing.
According to him, “the temporary voter cards are being exchanged for the new ones and the PVC would be assumed to have been distributed before Sunday. That was the essence of the whole exercise and Jega has reassured us that the commission is equal to the task. In fact, more prepared than in 2011.”
On the seeming disagreement between him and Mimiko over the outcome of the council meeting, Okorocha noted “as usual, we will not be on the same page on any issues of this nature.
“It is normal that some will be for and others will be against, but the truth is that we looked at the constitution of Nigeria. That is the only binding factor when there are issues of disagreement. The constitution guides everyone.”
He assured that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was expecting the elections to hold as scheduled.
Speaking again after Okorocha, Mimiko restated that “for any avoidance of doubt, like I said, INEC had the benefit of inputs and perspectives from council members.”
He added that issues of distribution of PVCs, card readers, the extent of piloting to ensure that people are familiar with it were discussed along with security issues.
He observed that with seven days to the election, 34 per cent of Nigerians were yet to get PVCs.
Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was the only living former Nigerian leader absent at the meeting.
Present were General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Muhammadu Buhari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Earnest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar; Senate President, David Mark; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal; former Chief Justices of the Federation, Justice Alfa Belgore and Dahiru Musdapher.
State governors present were James Ngilari (Adamawa), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano); Rauf Aregebsola (Osun); Okorocha (Imo); Umaru Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa); Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto); Willie Obiano of Anambra and Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger.
Others were Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Idris Wada (Kogi), Rotimi Ameachi (Rivers), Mukhtar Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abubakar Yari (Zamfara) Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina.
Also present were Mimiko (Ondo); David Jang (Plateau); Liyel Imoke (Cross Rivers); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Isa Yuguda (Bauchi); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Adams Oshiomhole (Edo); Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Ayo Fayose of Ekiti and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe.
Borno, Yobe, Abia and Oyo state governors were represented by their deputies. Taraba State acting governor, Danladi Abubakar, was present, while Benue, Ebonyi and Kebbi governors were neither present nor represented.
Chief of Defence Staff ( CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant -General Kenneth Minimah; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin; Admiral Adesola Amosu (Air Force); Suleiman Abba, Inspector-General of Police; Ita Ekpeyong, Director-General, SSS; National Security Adviser, Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, were also present.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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