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Election shift: Remain calm, Buhari tells supporters

*Accuses PDP government  of boxing INEC to corner

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

Following the postponement of the general election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari has enjoined Nigerians and indeed all his supporters across the country to exercise restraints and remain calm.

While acknowledging that the country was already passing through a turbulent period due to the activities of Boko haram, he stated that any further act of violence could escalate the situation.

He however said that the new dates were sacrosanct.

Buhari who addressed a world press conference in Abuja on the rescheduled polls said that INEC was pressured to make the announcement following the suggestion of the shift in the dates by the national security adviser, Col. Dasuki Sambo (rtd).

Admitting that the development was frustrating, the presidential candidate said that his supporters “must not allow ourselves to be tempted into taking actions that could further endanger the democratic process.”

He said “Following the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the 2015 general elections by six weeks, I wish to appeal for utmost restraint and calm by all Nigerians, especially the teeming supporters of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“This postponement, which comes on the heels of  the bogey of the National Security Adviser that half of the registered voters were being disenfranchised was exposed as a crude and fraudulent attempt to subvert the electoral process. The PDP administration has now engineered a postponement using the threat that security will not be guaranteed across the length and breadth  of Nigeria because of military engagement in some states in the North East.

“It  is important to note that although INEC acted within its constitutional powers, it is clear that it has been boxed into a situation where it has had to bow to pressure. Thus, the independence of INEC has been gravely compromised.

“As a Nigerian and a presidential candidate in the elections, I share in the disappointment and frustration of this decision. This postponement coming a week to the first election has raised so many questions, many of which shall be asked in the days ahead. However, we must not allow ourselves to be tempted into taking actions that could further endanger the democratic process.

“Our country is going through a difficult time in the hands of terrorists. Any act of violence can only complicate the security challenges in the country and provide further justification to those who would want to exploit every situation to frustrate the democratic process in the face of certain defeat at the polls.

“We must remain resolute and rise above all provocations. We must continue to trust in the entire democratic process and in INEC, which has been brought under so much pressure in the last few days.

“I wish to state strongly that our  party will not tolerate any further interference with the electoral process. The rescheduled elections of March 28th and April 11th, 2015 must be sacrosanct”, he said.

Buhari however expressed optimism that the postponement would buoy them in their quest to “rescue” the country from economic and social quagmires.

“If anything, this postponement should strengthen our resolve and commitment to rescue our country from the current economic and social collapse from this desperate band. Our desire for change must surpass their desperation to hold on to power at all cost.

“We must remain resolute and rise above all provocations. We must continue to trust in the entire democratic process and in INEC, which has been brought under so much pressure in the last few days.

“We are clearly dealing with people who feel they can get away with placing their personal interest over those of our nation and its citizens. What is at stake is the very survival of our country. We must not allow this temporary delay to abort this great opportunity.   While I share the pains and frustrations of my fellow citizens over this development, my deep faith in the democratic process assures me that this country, with your support, will overcome”, he said.

According to him, the party still had faith in the electoral management body and the rule of law even as he noted that Nigeria was greater than any individual.

“Our trust can only serve to encourage the electoral body to remain steadfast and remain committed to the rule of law.


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