AS President Muhammadu Buhari and his campaign organisation fault the postponement of the 2019 polls by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said that the “postponement was obviously a case of the hand of Esau, but the voice of Jacob.”
In a statement Saturday in Yola, Abubakar stated, “We will overcome this. You can postpone an election, but you cannot postpone destiny.”
He urged Nigerians to “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.”
According to him, the All Progesives Congress (APC) government had ample time and resources to prepare for the general election and Nigerians were ready to cast their civic votes, but unfortunately “the postponement was to disenfranchise the Nigerian electorate to ensure that the turnout is low on the rescheduled date.”
He said: “Nigerians must frustrate their plans by coming out in even greater numbers on February 23 and March 9 respectively.
“We must 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.
He warned that Nigerians to shun any violent act as the postponement was designed to provoke the public by those looking for an excuse for further anti-democratic acts.
Buhari Presidential Campaign Council reacts
In faulting INEC in the postponement, the Buhari Presidential Campaign Council warned the electoral commission against kowtowing to the pressure of the opposition.
In a statement Saturday, the Director, Strategic Communications, APC Presidential Campaign Council and the office spokesman of the Council Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN) stated that, “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.
“Let us not give anyone the opportunity to plunge this nation into a crisis, which is what they earnestly desire.”
Appealing for patience and calm in the face of the “temporary setback,” he stated: “We condemn and deprecate this tardiness of the electoral umpire in the strongest terms possible. President Buhari had cooperated fully with INEC by ensuring everything it demanded to conduct free and fair elections were promptly made available to it.”
In his statement, he claimed that: “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.
“Let us not give anyone, especially the PDP, the opportunity to plunge this nation into a 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.”
INEC Chairman recants
The electoral commission had in the early hours of Saturday, six hours to the opening of the polls, postponed the presidential and National Assembly elections of February 16 to February 23. It also postponed the governorship and House of Assembly polls from March 2 to March 9. It cited logistic reasons for shifting all the elections by one week.
Hitherto, the INEC chairman had at different fora swore that the commission was not anticipating the postponement of the general elections.
Recently, on television, Mahmood insisted that INEC is “fully prepared for the election.
“We first and foremost deliberately planned the 2019 general elections.
“I can’t foresee any possibility of postponement. INEC is not even contemplating the postponement of the 2019 general elections.”