The People’s Democratic Party(PDP) and All Progressives Congress(APC) have blamed each other for the late postponement of elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)
In a statement released early on Saturday morning, INEC announced that the Presidential, and National Assembly elections will take place on February 23 while the Governorship and State Assembly elections will take place on March 3.
“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the Commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible,” INEC said in an official statement.
“Consequently, the Commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, 23% February 2019.
“Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections is rescheduled to Saturday 9” March 2019. This will afford the Commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections.
“This was a difficult decision for the Commission to take, but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.
“The Commission will meet key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2 p.m. on Saturday, 16″ February 2019 at the Abuja International Conference Centre, ” the statement further said.
Meanwhile, the presidential campaign of president Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the postponement alleging that the postponement may have been orchestrated in collusion with the main opposition, the PDP, which it says, was never ready for this election.
A statement signed by Festus Keyamo, Director, Strategic Communications, APC Presidential Campaign Council, reads as follows:
“We have just received with great disappointment and disillusionment the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of its decision to postpone the Presidential/National Assembly and Gubernatorial/House of Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23, 2019 and Saturday, March 9, 2019, respectively.
“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. This news is therefore 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 do hope that INEC will remain neutral and impartial in this process as the rumor 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 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.”
The PDP also reacted to the postponement, which has come as a shock to most Nigerians. In a statement made available to Today’s Echo, Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the APC alleged that shoddy arrangement for this election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is a deliberate pre determined agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari to cling on to power even when it’s obvious to him that Nigerians want him out.
Secondus said that the postponement which is part of a grand design by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to thwart the will of Nigerians at all cost, clearly exposes INEC as a failure and calls on the Chairman of the Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu to resign immediately.
The PDP leader warns that the party will not accept anything short of a well organized 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 said that the APC in connivance with the INEC have been trying all options including but not limited to burning down INEC offices in some states and destroying of electoral materials to create artificial problems upon which to stand for their dubious act.