…reaffirms commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire
By Emmanuel Okogba
President Muhammadu Buhari who is also the All Progessives Congress candidate for the presidential election has expressed disappointment over the postponement of the general elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, rose from a stakeholders meeting, early Saturday morning, to announce that elections have been shifted by one week.
Buhari in a statement made available to Vanguard also appealed to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail the nation’s democratic development.
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The statement read : “I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement.
“Many Nigerians have traveled to various locations to exercise their right to vote, and international observers are gathered.
“INEC themselves have given assurances, day after day and almost hour after hour that they are in complete readiness for the elections. We and all our citizens believed them.
“This administration has ensured that we do not interfere in any way with the work of INEC except to ensure that all funds were released to the commission.
“We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.
“While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire and the sanctity of the electoral process and ballot, I urge all political stakeholders and Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.
“I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.
“I have decided to move back to Abuja to ensure that the 14.00 hrs meeting called by INEC with all stakeholders is successful.
The presidential and national assembly elections which was earlier fixed for Saturday, 16th February will now hold on the 23rd while elections for governorship positions and state Houses of Assembly will now hold on the 9th of March instead of 2nd.