The late arrival of a decision coming from the top echelon of the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the 2019 general election has begun to generate reactions from many Nigerians
The Independent National Electoral Commission has postponed the presidential and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled for Saturday.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, announced this at a press briefing on Saturday morning held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
“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,” Yakubu said.
Yakubu said the Presidential and National Assembly elections, initially scheduled for Saturday, February 16, will now hold on February 23, while the governorship and state houses of assembly elections will take place on March 9.
“The Commission will meet key stakeholders to update them on this development at 2 p.m. on Saturday, 16th February 2019 at the Abuja International Conference Centre,” he added.
But reacting to the Developments, One of Nigeria’s frontline opposition, the peoples’ Democratic Party’s Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, has said that shoddy arrangement of this election by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, is a deliberate Pre-determined agenda of president Buhari to cling on to power even when it’s obvious to him that Nigerians want him out.
Secondus said that the postponement which he alleged 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 warned 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 to 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.
According to a statement from the National Chairman’s media office signed by Ike Abonyi, Prince Secondus said that the party is privy to all the pressures from the APC and the federal government to arm twists the 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 adding that it has brought the huge cost for Nigerians including those who came home from abroad and had all mobilized to their various constituencies.
The PDP 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 stronghold 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 an election is a 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.
The National Chairman also drew the attention of all lovers of democracy to the statement of President Buhari on the international media that nobody can unseat him from office as an indication of what he wants to do.
Prince Secondus also regretted that President 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, Kaduna states.
Also, the Coalition of United Political Parties has claimed that the desperation of President Mohammadu Buhari and his men to win the presidential election, by all means, was responsible for the last minute postponement of the election.
The coalition’s spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, made the allegation in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Saturday morning.
He said, “In their bid to once again foist an unpopular government on Nigerians, they threw caution to the winds and started setting electoral materials on fire in states that are well known to be strongholds of opposition.
“These acts of sabotage, no doubt, ruined the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the elections.
“We have raised the alarm many times that agents of the government were working hard to ensure that elections are not held or are declared inconclusive in areas they know that the All Progressives Congress will never win. We have been vindicated.
We blame the international embarrassment this last minute postponement has caused the nation on the President, the desperate leaders of his party, APC, and the nation’s security agencies who failed woefully in their duties to protect electoral materials and INEC offices from attacks by these enemies of the nation.”
Ugochinyere added that with the postponement, “President Buhari’s judgments day with the people has just been shifted.”
He, however, said the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, displayed courage by shifting the election.
He said the postponement averted what he could have resulted to “national bloodshed because we are aware that APC wanted to proceed with election after compromising distribution and destroying materials in over 15 states.”