Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has deplored the last-minute postponement of the elections scheduled to hold February 16 and March 2 by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
INEC had shifted the dates of elections by one week in the early hours of Saturday, February 16, when the presidential and National Assembly elections were billed to hold. The commission moved the election to February 23, while the gubernatorial and state Assembly elections were moved to March 9 from March 2.
In a statement issued shortly after the commission announced the postponement of the elections, Festus Keyamo, Director of Strategic Campaign Communication, APC presidential campaign council, said “We condemn the postponement of the elections, but urge our teeming supporters to be patient and determined.”
The statement expressed “great disappointment” of the party with the shift despite the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari provided everything ÌNEC needed for successful conduct of elections.
“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 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 said.
The APC presidential campaign said it had
earlier raised the alarm that the PDP was bent on discrediting this process the moment it realized it could not make up the numbers to win the election, warning that INEC should not collude with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It accused the PDP Social Media influencers of being the first to predict the postponement of the election.
“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.
“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.
APC also raised the alarm over the move by the PDP to deploy a technological device to track elections, saying the election umpire should not allow anyone to preempt it in the announcement of election results.
“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,” said APC .