© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Poll postponement: Atiku accuses Buhari administration of plot to disenfranchise Nigerians
THE People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday accused the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari of plotting to disenfranchise Nigerians after the announcement of the postponement of the general elections earlier scheduled to begin Saturday, February 16.
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has announced that the general elections have been rescheduled for a week, nearly five hours to the commencement of the voting exercise.
The elections would now hold on February 23 and March 9 for presidential/National Assembly elections and governorship/state assemblies elections respectively.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said the “proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible” because of the challenges in implementing logistics and operation plan.
But the former Vice President Atiku has described the postponement as “a case of the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob.”
He said with the postponement, the Buhari administration planned to disenfranchise the Nigerian electorate in order to ensure that turn out is low on the rescheduled date.
“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,”. he said in a statement released by his campaign office a few hours ago.
Atiku, however, enjoined his supporters to remain peaceful despite the “provocation.”
Election Postponement: Remain Peaceful In Face of Provocation
Yola, Nigeria, 16 Feb 2019: Dear citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
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.
Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party & Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007.