Wednesday, October 28THE LEGISLATURE

PDP Rejects Election Postponement, Requests Immediate Resignation of INEC Boss

It’s the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob – Atiku

BY OBUTE JAMES

The Peoples Democratic Party has rejected the new dates announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the conduct of the general elections and asked the INEC boss Mahmood Yakubu to immediately resigned his appointment.

PDP said shoddy arrangements for the elections was a deliberate agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari to cling on to power even when it said it was obvious to him that Nigerians wanted him out.

Yakubu in announcement by 2.50 am today rescheduled the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23, 2019 while the governorship, State Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council polls earlier fixed for March 2 would now be held on Saturday, March 9 2019.
Yakubu, who read a five-paragraph statement attributed the decision to logistic reasons, but refused to entertain any question from journalists.

A former Vice President of Nigeria and the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has asked Nigerians to remain peaceful in the face of provocation while describing the action of INEC as “hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob”

Atiku said that it was unfortunate that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari failed to utilise the time it had to organise the elections.

Secondus alleged that the postponement was part of a grand design by the All Progressives Congress to thwart the will of Nigerians at all cost.

The PDP leader warned that the party will not accept “anything short of a well organised electoral process devoid of manipulation, harassment and intimidation of voters and the opposition particularly members of the PDP.”

He added, “Having failed in all their nefarious options to enable them cling on to power, the APC and the INEC came up with the idea of shifting election, an action that is dangerous to our democracy and is therefore unacceptable.”

Secondus added that the APC in connivance with the INEC “have been trying all options including but not limited to burning down INEC offices in some states and destroying of electoral materials to create artificial problems upon which to stand for their dubious act.”

According to a statement from the national chairman’s media office signed by Ike Abonyi, Secondus said that the party was privy to the alleged pressure from the APC and the Federal Government to allegedly arm twist INEC, to dance to their new strategy after earlier ones failed.

He said, “With several of their rigging options failing, they have to force INEC to agree to a shift in the election or a staggered election with flimsy excuses pre-manufactured for the purpose.

“For the avoidance of doubt the PDP sees this action as wicked and we are also aware of other dubious designs like the deployment of hooded security operatives who would be ruthless on the people ostensibly to scare them away.”

He said that by this action, the President had allegedly further demonstrated his “insensitivity costing the huge cost after Nigerians including those who came home from abroad have all mobilised to their various constituencies.”

He recalled that the PDP had earlier alerted Nigerians that the APC was allegedly coming up with rigging strategies including “burning down of INEC offices and engineering crisis in PDP stronghold areas to scare away the people.”

Secondus said that the wicked killing of over 60 persons mostly women and children in Southern Kaduna on the eve of election was a copious ploy by the APC to frighten the people away from voting, knowing too well that they were not going to record any vote from the area.

“Recall that the Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai had earlier threatened international election observers of going to their country in body bags and with the fatal violence in the state on the eve of election, it’s clear what the motives are, to frighten the observers from the state so that he can carry out his nefarious acts,” he added.

The National Chairman also drew the attention of all lovers of democracy to the statement of President Buhari on the international media that nobody can unseat him from office as an indication of what he wanted to do.

Prince Secondus also regretted that President Buhari who made a promise at the signing of peace accord that the election would be conducted in a fair and transparent atmosphere had gone ahead in breach of the peace agreements by sending soldiers and other security agencies to arrest, harass and intimidate opponents in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Kano, Kaduna states.

In a statement Atiku personally signed in the early hours of Saturday while reacting to the shift in the dates for the conduct of the general elections as announced by th Yakubu, He likened the actions of the commission to the Biblical hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob.

He said, “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.”

Atiku asked Nigerians to maintain the peace and still endure to come out to vote on the new dates.
He said, “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.”

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