- The PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to the postponement of the 2019 elections by INEC
- Atiku alleged that the postponement is a bid to frustrate Nigerians from participating in the election
- The opposition PDP candidate, however, urged Nigerians to remain calm and come out fully to vote on Saturday, February 23; the new date for the presidential election
Atiku Abubakar, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, alleged that the postponement of the general election by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is “obviously a case of the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob.”
In a statement released in the early hours of Saturday, February 16, seen by The Guardian, Atiku blamed the postponement of the elections on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, saying the government had "more than enough time and money to prepare".
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Atiku further alleged that the the election postponement is a bid to frustrate Nigerians from participating in the election.
He said:“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."
The PDP presidential candidate, however, called on Nigerians to be patient. He said:
“As such, 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."
Read the statement in full:
“As you know, the Independent National Electoral Commission has announced a postponement of the elections until 23 February and 9 March respectively.
“The Buhari administration has had more than enough time and money to prepare for these elections and the Nigerian people were poised and ready to perform their civic responsibility by voting in the elections earlier scheduled for Saturday, 16 February 2019.
“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.
“As such, 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.
“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.
“May God bless you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Campaign Organisation has also raised allegations against the PDP over the postponement of the elections.
Festus Keyamo, the director of media of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, said the postponement of the general election is “a huge disappointment.”
“We condemn and deprecate this tardiness of the electoral umpire in the strongest terms possible,” Keyamo, said in a statement.
He stated that “the rumour mill is agog with the suggestion that this postponement has been orchestrated in collusion with the main opposition.”
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, announced the postponement on Saturday, February 16, at a press briefing morning held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
The INEC boss said: “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."
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