Senator Babafemi Ojudu alleged that with the elections postponement, President Goodluck Jonathan planned to have his tenure extended for a 2-year term.
Speaking on February 10 during at the University of Ibadan organized by the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), the politician representing Ekiti Central said there would be no elections this year at all.
The Independent National Electoral Committee on Saturday announced the shift of general polls for 6 weeks over security issues. Senator Ojudu expressed scepticism about the move. He was quoted as saying by The Nation:
“We are entering into a very long night in Nigeria. If anybody thinks there will be election on March 28 and April 11, he is deceiving himself. They are just deceiving us. The body language of some top leaders is that the Federal Government is not willing to organise any election now.
“We are resuming next week. I will not be surprised if they bring a motion seeking postponement of the election for six months because of the Boko Haram war. Interestingly, about 80 per cent of senators are not returning. And senators are broke. All they need to get the motion adopted is a simple majority. Then, they may ask for two more years. That is what they are working towards.”
When asked how the All Progressives Congress (APC) would deal with the challenge, Ojudu said that the opposition lawmakers planned to regroup next week to coordinate their actions and response to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleged agenda.
The ARG on its part criticized the elections postponement. The group chairman, Hon. Olawale Oshun, suggested that the polls shift was connected with the military plan to take over or Balkanise Nigeria.
“It is in this light that we in Afenifere Renewal Group, and by extension, the Yoruba, contend that this election shift is certainly not just about elections. We believe that the postponement is about something more sinister.
“This postponement had long been foreseen by Nigerians, and we had awaited its doomed arrival in awe. The Federal Government and its security agencies have been fighting Boko Haram in the last five years, and had not, at any time, dealt that enemy of state any sucker punch.
“The first sinister motive we suspect is that this postponement might be the ground to prepare a soft surface for a sympathetic group within the Armed Forces to take over the reins of power, since in character and content there is little to distinguish the present rudderless government from the one that ruled us till 1983.
“It is necessary to warn that the Yoruba would not be part of any country that is forcibly taken over by any military insurrection, no matter the direction or purpose of any such self-styled messiahs. We as a people know what we want, and this is clearly not part of it. This is definitely not the change we as a people would clamour for.
“If for any reason, Nigeria ceases to be ruled democratically, or would be Balkanised into smaller groupings, then we Yoruba people would rather go our way and choose to become an independent nation. This is a change we would agitate for.”
The elections shift caused many negative reactions. While the opposition characterized the decision as “highly provocative”, the ruling party praised the INEC saying that safety of Nigerians is the most important issue for the country’s leadership.
Soon indications also emerged that Jonathan’s administration might remove and substitute the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, before the newly announced dates (March 28 and April 11).
However both the INEC and the Presidency debunked rumours describing them as false.