President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday appealed to all stakeholders to accept the postponement in the dates of the general elections as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission on Saturday in good faith.
He also assured them that despite the change in dates of the elections, the May 29, 2015 date remains sacrosanct as the terminal date of his four-year first term.
The president’s position was contained in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.
The chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had on Saturday announced that the presidential and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled for February 14 would now hold on March 28 while the governorship and Houses of Assembly elections earlier scheduled for February 28 had been shifted to April 11.
President Jonathan said rather than trading blames and making statements that are capable of overheating the polity, stakeholders must show understanding and support INEC.
He also called on the international community, civil society and the electorate to continue to support his administration’s commitment to free, fair and credible elections.
Justifying the postponement, the president said INEC has a responsibility to conduct credible elections in which every Nigerian of voting age is afforded the opportunity to exercise their civic right without any form of hindrance.
The statement read, “Following the adjustment of the dates for the 2015 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission from February 14 and 28 to March 28 and April 11, yesterday, President Goodluck Jonathan has reassured the nation of his commitment to the sanctity of May 29, 2015 as the terminal date of his first term in office.
“He strongly reaffirms that May 29 is, has been, and will remain sacrosanct.
“The President appeals to all stakeholders to accept the adjustment of the election dates by INEC in good faith, as the electoral body has a responsibility to conduct credible elections in which every Nigerian of voting age is afforded the opportunity to exercise their civic right without any form of hindrance.
“President Jonathan believes that this is not a time to trade blames or make statements that may overheat the polity, but a time to show understanding and support the electoral commission to conduct the elections successfully.
“It is the President’s understanding that INEC’s decision ought not to generate acrimony since it acted within its powers under the law and in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
“He calls on the international community, civil society and the electorate to continue to support the administration’s commitment to a free, fair, credible, and non-violent electoral process”.