The presidency has dismissed as false, comments that it influenced the 2015 election time-table released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, last week.
Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Monday, accused the Presidency of influencing the electoral umpire to schedule the presidential election first so as to create a ‘bandwagon effect’ in subsequent elections in favour of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
“I don’t know how they influenced the Independent National Electoral Commission to put this election and National Assembly election first and then two weeks after, they’ll do House of Assembly and governorship elections. I think the presidential election should come last,” he said.
Responding to the allegation, special adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Inter-Party Affairs, Senator Ben Obi, in a chat with Vanguard, said the Presidency had no hands in the issuance of the election timetable, which he said they were not expecting.
This came as the INEC gave reasons it released the schedules early and fixed presidential polls first.
Obi said: “They (INEC) have a constitutional responsibility to take care of elections. It is that responsibility they have adhered to. For me, it is part of the transformation agenda that those who are given responsibilities to perform do so without let or hindrance.
That is what the (Professor Attahiru) Jega-led INEC has done. Nobody was expecting it. If anybody was saying that they were under some influence that person is wrong in his presumption.
“It is the independent nature of the various organisations under this administration that is coming to play. We must thank the President for making sure that these organisations have a free atmosphere to function.”
Asked if the timetable was not released too early, given that the 2015 elections are 13 months away, Senator Obi said: “It is their (INEC) responsibility to put out dates for elections, declare dates for campaigns, among others, that is what they have done. Don’t forget they did that under a retreat. All of them cannot be making a mistake at the same time. ”
On whether putting the presidential election first would not create a bandwagon effect in favour of the PDP as alleged, Obi said the argument was neither here nor there because past elections had not followed any strict order.