Those pushing for Prof. Attahiru Jega’s removal do not seem to be tired – a protest is slated for Lagos today.
The Jega-must-go march is being led by an amorphous organisation – The Coalition of Concerned Nigerians – backed by the Oodua Peoples Congress (APC).
The protest is coming after the weekend action against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chair by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in the Southeast.
It is all at a price – N9billion – the All Progressives Congress (APC) said yesterday.
The APC accused the Jonathan administration of sponsoring ethnic militias to foment trouble before, during and after the March 28 and April 11 general elections, saying the N9 billion recently paid out to some ex-militants and ethnic militias is aimed at mobilising them to scuttle the polls.
In a statement issued in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the protests by MASSOB seeking the sack of the INEC Chairman were orchestrated by the administration as part of its continuing efforts to sabotage the elections.
It said the next group that has been mobilised to protest against Jega and the use of card reader is the OPC, which is also a beneficiary of the N9 billion payout, ostensibly for pipeline protection, but in reality to prepare the ethnic militias for their reprehensible role in scuttling the elections.
The APC said more ethnic militias are to be enlisted by the Jonathan administration to continue the protest against Jega and the card reader, in order to give the impression that Nigerians want Jega sacked and are also against the use of card reader.
As from today, some companies owned by some former Niger-Delta militant leaders and prominent Nigerians are to take over pipeline protection from the police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, following President Jonathan’s approval of their contracts.
They include Government Ekpemuopolo (aka Tompolo); Mujaheedin Asari Dokubo; and Chief Bibipori Ajube (aka Gen. Shoot-At-Sight).
According to a source, seven companies have been allocated “regions” or operational areas as follows: Egbe Security River One (Bayelsa); Gallery Security (Mosinmi -Ore); Close Body Protection (Edo State); Adex Energy Security(Rivers); Donyx Global Concept (Lagos and Ogun); Oil Facilities Surveillance-(Delta) and New Age Global Security (Mosinmi-Ibadan).
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will coordinate the multi-billion naira deal.
The APC expressed sadness that a President who inherited a united nation has done everything he can to divide the country along ethnic and religious lines, including patronising ethnic militias who serve no other purpose than to champion sectional interests at the expense of national unity.
It wondered why President Jonathan would pay N9 billion to a handful of people at a time of great economic downturn and falling Naira, as well as in a situation in which many states cannot even afford to pay their workers because of dwindling allocation from the Federation Account.
‘’A profligate government that has been bribing people with dollars and ferrying huge funds around practically to buy votes has outdone itself by paying out all of N9 billion to a few Nigerians, with less than three weeks to the elections. Shortly after the payment, some self-serving groups started organising protests that, for all intents and purposes, are being orchestrated to scuttle the polls. This is a shameful show by the federal government,’’ the APC said.
The Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) confirmed that it will be part of today’s protest.
While its founder Dr. Frederick Fasehun denied knowledge of the planned protest last night, its coordinator Chief Gani Adams said the OPC will be joining another group to stage the protest.
According to him, about five million people in the Southwest have not collected their PVCs, barely two weeks to elections.
“The INEC boss cannot disenfranchise our people for not just any reason. We are equally protesting because Jega created about 30,000 polling units in the North without creating any in the South. This is an indication that he has his own agenda. We cannot fold our hands when majority of our people are being denied their legitimate right.”
“If Jega feels that he cannot cope with the situation on ground before the election, he should resign and let another competent man be saddled with the responsibility.”