Nigeria heading for constitution crisis – Dickson

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Seriake Dickson

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has warned that Nigeria is heading for constitution crisis, if issues that prompted election postponement are not handled well.

He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to convey an expanded emergency meeting of the National Council of State, to discuss issues involving the postponement of the elections, so that any other date chosen would be sacrosanct.

A statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, yesterday, quoted governor Dickson as saying, during a press briefing at the Government House, Yenagoa, that the Council of State meeting should comprise leaders of the security agencies, political party leaders, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and presidential candidates in addition to the normal members of council.

He said the INEC leadership should be made to brief the council of its decision to unilaterally postpone the elections a few hours to voting.

He added that INEC should pick a new date only after the proposed expanded meeting of the National Council of State, to prevent the country from the costly experience of having the election postponed again on election day.

Dickson stressed that INEC, for instance, did not have the ballot papers for the presidential election, necessary inks and other items needed for the election in Bayelsa.

He also said it was, indeed, important for INEC to explain why some of the materials for the elections were not customised, contrary to the standard practice for which INEC is reputed.

The governor called on Nigerians and the political leadership to avoid the temptation to call for the removal of the Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, to avoid plunging the country into an avoidable protracted crisis of succession.

He warned that the sudden postponement of the election might be steering the country in the direction of a constitution crisis.

Dickson said the reactions, which trailed the sudden shift in the date of the elections, a few hours to the vote, had belittled the country and portrayed the citizens as an unserious people.

He said the presidential directive to security agents to deal ruthlessly with troublemakers should include leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa, who allegedly have been subverting the security and stability of the state and buying arms for the youths to cause mayhem in the state.

He said: “I call on President Buhari to convene an expanded meeting of the National Council of State.

“The meeting should be attended by security chiefs, the INEC, the candidates and political leaders, to examine the issues which could plunge our country into a prolonged constitutional crisis, a crisis of succession if not properly handled.

“It is at the end of the meeting that INEC should pick a new election date. I disagree with INEC on the unilateral choice of a date. I don’t believe all the challenges that INEC had could be resolved within six days for the country to expect a hitch-free election on Saturday.”

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