By Anthony Ogbonna
The All Progressives Congress, APC, has condemned the postponement of the general election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
INEC had, in the early hours of today, postponed to February 23rd, the General election earlier scheduled for today, Saturday, February 16th, 2019.
INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu,while briefing newsmen at the commission’s headquarters, announced that continuing with the election as earlier scheduled for today, 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 therefore announced that the presidential and National Assembly elections had been moved to February 23, 2019.
He also said that the governorship and state assembly elections have also been moved by one week to March 9, 2019.
However, reacting to the postponement in a statement on Saturday by the spokesperson for its Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Festus Keyamo,the APC condemned the postponement but went further to urge its supporters to remain patient and determined.
The statement reads thus:
WE CONDEMN THE POSTPONEMENT OF THE ELECTIONS BUT URGE OUR TEEMING SUPPORTERS TO BE PATIENT AND DETERMINED
We have just received with great disappointment and disillusionment the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of its decision to postpone the Presidential/National Assembly and Gubernatorial/House of Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23, 2019, and Saturday, March 9, 2019, respectively.
We condemn and deprecate this tardiness of the electoral umpire in the strongest terms possible.
President Muhammadu Buhari had since cooperated fully with INEC by ensuring EVERYTHING it demanded to conduct free and fair elections were promptly made available to it.
This news is, therefore, a huge disappointment to us and to our teeming supporters nationwide and around the world, many of whom have come into the country to exercise their franchise.
We do hope that INEC will remain neutral and impartial in this process as the rumour 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.
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 realized 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. We have earlier raised the alarm that the PDP is bent on discrediting this process the moment it realized it cannot make up the numbers to win this election.
We are only urging INEC not collude with the PDP on this. 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 apologized 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.
It is in the light of the above that we wish to appeal to Nigerians and our supporters to be patient, calm and resolute despite this temporary setback.
Let us not give anyone, especially the PDP, the opportunity to plunge this nation into a crises, which is what they earnestly desire. Its imminent defeat is just a few days away.
Lastly, we wish to draw the attention of INEC and the world to observe that the PDP has clearly and openly said it plans to announce parallel results through some funny device it has procured or developed
We wish to re-iterate that it is ONLY INEC that is legally and constitutionally empowered to declare results and it constitutes an offence for anyone to do so.
We urge INEC to SPEAK UP NOW and warn the PDP to desist from this ignoble act that is capable of plunging the nation into a crisis of immeasurable proportions.
FESTUS KEYAMO, SAN, FCIARB(UK)
Director, Strategic Communications, APC Presidential Campaign Council