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APC, PDP trade blames over postponement of elections

THE two major political parties in Nigeria — the ruling All Progressives Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Congress — are blaming each other for the last minute postponement of the 2019 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The postponement was announced by INEC’s National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, after a marathon meeting of the commission’s top officials which started on Friday evening but lasted into the early hours of Saturday.

“Following 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 announced, adding that the presidential and National Assembly elections will now hold on Saturday, February 23, while the governorship and state assemblies polls will be on Saturday, March 9, 2019.

However, in a statement, early Saturday, Festus Keyamo, spokesperson of the President Muhammadu Buhari campaign organisation, said that PDP social media influencers already knew about the postponement and had started posting it on the social media even before it was officially announced by INEC.

“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,” Keyamo wrote.

“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 apologised 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.

“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 realised 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.”

On the other hand, the National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, described the postponement as a “deliberate, pre-determined agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari to cling on to power”.

Secondus, who spoke through his media aide, Ike Abonyi, said that the connivance between the APC and INEC has been evident even in the several reports of fire incidents at several INEC offices across the country which resulted in the destruction of voter cards and other voting materials.

“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,” Secondus stated.

“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.”

Secondus also referred to the killing of 66 people in a community in Kaduna, including 22 children and 16 women, saying that the attack was “a copious 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”.

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