The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), its Presidential Candidate, Mr Atiku Abubakar and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), have all stoutly condemned the postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the wee hours of the morning, deploring the huge cost on the citizenry. INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu,
The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), its Presidential Candidate, Mr Atiku Abubakar and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), have all stoutly condemned the postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the wee hours of the morning, deploring the huge cost on the citizenry.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who attributed the postponement to logistics reasons, says the Presidential and National Assembly Elections earlier slated to hols on Saturday, February 16th has now been rescheduled to Saturday, 23″ February 2019 while the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections which was fixed for Saturday, March 3rd, will now hold Saturday 9th March 2019
PDP National Chairman, Mr Uche Secondus, said that the shoddy arrangement for the 2019 election by the INEC “is a deliberate pre-determined agenda” of President Muhammadu Buhari to cling on to power “even when it is obvious to him that Nigerians want him out”.
He said that the postponement, which he fingers as part of a grand design by the APC to thwart the will of Nigerians at all cost, clearly exposes INEC as a failure and calls on the Commission’ Chairman,, Prof Yakubu, to resign immediately.
The PDP chairman warned that the party “will not accept anything short of a well organised electoral process devoid of manipulation, harassment and intimidation of voters and the opposition particularly members of the PDP”.
“Having failed in all their nefarious options to enable them cling on to power, the APC and the INEC came up with the idea of shifting election, an action that is dangerous to our democracy and unacceptable”.
The national chairman alleged that the APC, in connivance with INEC, have been trying all options including but not limited to burning down INEC offices in some states and destroying electoral materials “to create artificial problems upon which to stand for their dubious act”.
Secondus said that the party is privy to all the pressures from the APC and the federal government to arm-twist INEC “to dance to their new strategy after their earlier ones failed”.
“With several of their rigging options failing, they have to force INEC to agree to a shift in the election or a staggered election with flimsy excuses pre manufactured for the purpose.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP sees this action as wicked and we are also aware of other dubious designs like the deployment of hooded security operatives who would be ruthless on the people ostensibly to scare them away”.
He said that by the action of the President, he has further demonstrated his insensitivity to the huge cost after Nigerians including those who came home from abroad have all mobilised to their various constituencies.
The National Chairman recalled that the PDP had earlier alerted Nigerians that the APC was coming up with lined up rigging strategies, including burning down of INEC offices and engineering crisis in PDP strong hold areas to scare away the people.
Secondus said that “the wicked killing of over 60 persons mostly women and children in Southern Kaduna on the eve of election is a copious ploy by the APC to frighten the people away from voting knowing too well that they were not going to record any vote from the area.”
“Recall that the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, had earlier threatened international election observers of going to their countries in body bags and with the fatal violence in the state on the eve of election, it is clear what the motives are, to frighten the observers from the state so that he can carry out his nefarious acts”.
The PDP national chairman also drew the attention of all lovers of democracy to the statement of President Buhari that nobody can unseat him from office as an indication of what he wants to do.
Secondus also regretted that Buhari, who made a promise at the signing of peace accord that the election will be conducted in a fair and transparent atmosphere, has gone ahead in breach of the peace agreements to send soldiers and other security agencies to arrest, harass and intimidate opponents in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Kano and Kaduna states.
Also the PDP Presidential Candidate, Mr Atiku Abubakr in a statement on Saturday, accused President Buhari of plotting to disenfranchise Nigerians, moments after the general elections were formally postponed.
“This postponement is obviously a case of the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob. By instigating this postponement, the Buhari administration hopes to disenfranchise the Nigerian electorate in order to ensure that turn out is low on the rescheduled date. Nigerians must frustrate their plans by coming out in even greater numbers on Saturday, 23 February and Saturday, 9 March respectively.”
“Knowing that the Nigerian people are determined to reject them, they are desperate and will do anything in their power to avoid their rejection by the Nigerian people. Their plan is to provoke the public, hoping for a negative reaction, and then use that as an excuse for further anti-democratic acts.”
Atiku, however, urged Nigerians to exercise patience and not be provoked before the new dates announced for the exercise.
“I call on all Nigerians to be patient. We have tolerated the maladministration of this government for four years. We can extend our tolerance a few more days and give them our verdict via our votes.”
“Maintain the peace and be law abiding. Do not react to this provocation with anger, violence or any action that might be exploited by those who do not want this election to hold. Remain calm. We will overcome this. You can postpone an election, but you cannot postpone destiny,” said the former Vice President.
“Please come out to vote on Saturday, 23 February and Saturday, 9 March respectively. Frustrate those who do not want this election to hold by coming out in very large numbers. That is the best antidote to their plans,” he said.
Director, Strategic Communications, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Festus Keyamo has also deplored the postponement, saying, it is “a huge disappointment to us and to our teeming supporters nationwide and around the world, many of whom have come into the country to exercise their franchise.”
“We condemn and deprecate this tardiness of the electoral umpire in the strongest terms possible. President Muhammadu Buhari had since cooperated fully with INEC by ensuring EVERYTHING it demanded to conduct free and fair elections were promptly made available to it,” he says.
“We do hope that INEC will remain neutral and impartial in this process as the rumour mill is agog with the suggestion that this postponement has been orchestrated in collusion with the main opposition, the PDP, that was NEVER ready for this election. We note that all the major credible demographic projections have predicted a defeat of the PDP and it seriously needed this breather to orchestrate more devious strategies to try and halt President Buhari’s momentum. It did the same as the ruling Party in 2015, when it realized the game was up, by orchestrating the postponement of the 2015 elections by six weeks. Now, it may be up to its old trick again.”
“We have earlier raised the alarm that the PDP is bent on discrediting this process the moment it realized it cannot make up the numbers to win this election. We are only urging INEC not collude with the PDP on this. We are truly worried because as early as Friday morning, some known PDP Social Media influencers unwittingly announced this postponement, but quickly deleted the message and apologized to the public that it was fake news. We do not want to be forced to a situation of announcing our total loss of confidence in INEC, because we know where that would leave our democracy.”
“It is in the light of the above that we wish to appeal to Nigerians and our supporters to be patient, calm and resolute despite this temporary setback. Let us not give anyone, especially the PDP, the opportunity to plunge this nation into crises, which is what they earnestly desire. Its imminent defeat is just a few days away.”
“Lastly, we wish to draw the attention of INEC and the world to observe that the PDP has clearly and openly said it plans to announce parallel results through some funny device it has procured or developed. We wish to re-iterate that it is ONLY INEC that is legally and constitutionally empowered to declare results and it constitutes an offence for anyone to do so. We urge INEC to SPEAK UP NOW and warn the PDP to desist from this ignoble act that is capable of plunging the nation into a crises of immeasurable proportions,” Keyamo says.