Nigerians in the UK on Sunday, commended INEC for the postponement of the general elections, and appealed for understanding from all stakeholders. Some of them who spoke to newsmen in London, unanimously agreed that the extension was in the best interest of the nation’s democracy, while urging the youths to refrain from violence.
Rex Chosen, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) UK South-South, said that INEC’s decision should be applauded rather than criticised. “If INEC is charged with the responsibility of conducting a free and fair election and has now decided to extend the polls to achieve its objectives, it should be given the liberty it requires to set the parameter within which it can conduct a free and fair elections.
“What is the big deal about a few weeks extension, INEC only wants to ensure that every vote counts, and eligible voters had access to their PVC. “We should instead applaud INEC for taken a step in the right direction in ensuring a credible election,” Chosen stressed. Also speaking, Mrs Susan Thomas a Nigerian born UK, said that INEC’s extension of the polls only attest to the fact that it is committed to having a credible election.
Thomas , however said that if INEC’s decision had other motives as being speculated by the opposition, it would amount to a setback for the nation’s democracy. She urged politicians to rise above pettiness and called for support for candidates who had clear and robust manifestos to offer the nation. INEC had on Saturday postponed the election by six weeks with the Presidential and the National Assembly elections earlier billed for Feb.14, now shifted to March 28.
That of Governorship and House of Assembly polls initially fixed for Feb. 28, will now hold on April 11. In a similar reaction, a diaspora group under the auspices of Friends of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (FOGEJ) welcomed INEC’s decision and stressed that the postponement would give ample time for security arrangements especially in the North East.
The group at a Town Hall Meeting tagged” An Evening with Mr president”, highlighted the achievement of the present administration and urged the diaspora to encourage their families and associates in Nigeria to vote PDP in order to ensure continuity. Although Jonathan was not at the meeting, but Agriculture Minister Dr Akinwumi Adesina and his counterpart in the Power Ministry Prof. Chinedo Nebo who graced the occasion, spoke on the transformation agenda with particular focus on education, rail transportation, and trade and investment.
They also highlighted achievements in agriculture, and progress in power generation as well as distribution in the country. In an interview, Mr Bob Olukoya, the convener of meeting, said he was motivated by Jonathan’s vision for a better Nigeria for future generations. ” President Goodluck Jonathan has been thinking of the next generation that was why he established more federal universities, nomadic schools, and involved in girl child education that others have neglected.
” That is why he is involved in long term projects rather than dancing to the gallery for short term glorification. Even his pronouncement that his ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian, shows that the President is looking beyond the election” ” He wants to be a statesman and wants his name written in the sands of time and history,” Olukoya stressed.
Similarly, Mr Gbenga Akinmoyo, Europe Coordinator for FOGEJ, said that the group decided to organise the meeting to intimate the diaspora on Jonathan’s transformation agenda. “There are millions of Nigerians in the diaspora and it is essential that they understood the meaning of the transformation agenda,” and how it translates to an improvement in the standard of living and reduction in the cost of living of an ordinary Nigerian”,
“What we have been able to address in this meeting are questions bordering on diaspora voting, and security challenges in the country among others,” he said. He said further, “We have heard from the ministers how the government is tackling these issues, the objective is for the diaspora to disseminate these views to the people back home. The event attracted participants from the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK), students and the media.