The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of instigating the postponement of the presidential and parliamentary elections in the country to disenfranchise Nigerians.
Atiku also said the postponement was a ploy by the Buhari administration to ensure that turnout of voters becomes very low on the rescheduled date in order for his party to rig the poll.
Atiku made the statement on Saturday, February 16, following the postponement of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
INEC, had, in the early hours of Saturday, postponed to February 23rd, the General election earlier scheduled for February 16th, 2019.
INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu had, while briefing newsmen at the commission’s headquarters, announced that continuing with the election as earlier scheduled for 16th February, 2019, was no longer feasible.
According to him, “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.”
He had, therefore, announced that the presidential and National Assembly elections had been moved to February 23, 2019.
He had equally said that the governorship and state assembly elections had also been moved by one week to March 9, 2019.
Although the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its presidential candidate, President Buhari, have both condemned INEC for postponing the election, former Vice President and the PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar accused the Buhari-led government of being behind the poll postponement.
Atiku said there was no reason for the postponement of the election other than that the Buhari government had seen that it had lost favour with the people and was going to lose, hence, the postponement.
According to him, “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.
“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,” Atiku said.
“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.
“Their plan is to provoke the public, hoping for a negative reaction, and then use that as an excuse for further anti-democratic acts,” the presidential hopeful added.
“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.”
“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”.
Below is his full statement:
“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 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.”
BREAKING: PDP Wins Imo Supplementary Election
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared Jerry Alagbaoso of the Peoples Democratic Party the winner of the supplementary election held on Saturday in Orlu/Orsu/ Oru East Federal Constituency in Imo State.
The Returning Officer of the election, Emma Anakwuba, announced the results and returned the PDP candidate under tight security at INEC’s office in Owerri on Tuesday.
This declaration is coming three days after political thugs invaded INEC’s collation centre in collation, tore the election results, accusing the electoral umpire of compromising the exercise.
INEC had already collated results of 14 out of 18 polling units before the hoodlums struck.
The results of the remaining four polling units were collated at the INEC’s headquarters in Owerri on Tuesday and thereafter a winner was announced.
The returning officer said that the PDP candidate polled 22,475 votes to emerge the winner.
According to Anakwuba, the All Progressives Congress candidate, Eddy Iheanacho got 20, 814 votes while All Progressives Grand Alliance got 5,099 votes.
He said, “That Jerry Alagbaoso of the PDP having scored the highest number of votes and satisfied the requirements of the law is returned elected.”
The winner, who was first elected into the house of representatives 2011 was reelected in 2015, was declared winner again in 2019.
An appeal court in Owerri partially canceled his victory in 2019 and ordered a supplementary election in 18 polling units in the federal constituency.
Imo Lawmaker, Uche Ogbuagu Dumps PDP For APC
Uche Ogbuagu, another member of the Imo State House of Assembly representing Ikeduru State Constituency, has joined the train of defections to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
In a letter to the Speaker, Ogbuagu, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party announced his decision to switch his party affiliation to the All Progressives Congress.
He said his decision was precipitated by the “unfair” treatment he got in PDP. He said his party switch was in the interest of his constituency.
Ogbuagu, South East’s pioneer tele-comedian, built his political reputation as a critic of former governor Rochas Okorocha.
He is the owner of My Radio FM Owerri and Real FM Aba.
Last week, nine members of the PDP, APGA and Action Alliance joined the APC, following the Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago that ousted the PDP Governor Emeka Ihedioha.
On 15 January, the APC candidate, Hope Uzodinma in the 9 March election was sworn in, triggering the shifts in the House of Assembly.
More members of the House are expected to announce their departure to the APC, to give the party, a working majority.
Don’t Declare Orji Kalu’s Seat Vacant — Opponent Begs NASS
The APGA candidate for Abia North Senatorial seat in the 2019 general elections, Dr. David Bourdex, has appealed to the National Assembly not to declare vacant the seat occupied by Orji Uzor Kalu.
Bourdex, who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), made the appeal on Monday.
Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on December 5, 2019, sentenced Orji Kalu to 12 years in jail for stealing N7.2bn from the coffers of Abia. The ex-governor was the Chief Whip of the Senate before his incarceration.
Some groups subsequently called on the Senate leadership to declare his seat vacant.
Rejecting the call, Bourdex said that the people of Abia North made their intentions clear by voting Orji Kalu, adding that demanding for his seat to be declared vacant amounted to desperation.
“It is preposterous and presumptuous to make such a demand to declare his seat vacant.
“Granted that the wheel of justice grinds slowly and surely, those of us in politics should strive to follow the rule of law without doing anything to circumvent the process.
“We should stand for fairness; and patience is necessary to ensure that justice is done both for the state and citizens and society at large,” Bourdex said.