The Coalition of United Political Parties has claimed that the desperation of President Muhammadu Buhari and his men to win the presidential election, by all means, was responsible for the last minute postponement of the election.
The coalition’s spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, made the allegation in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Saturday morning.
He said, “In their bid to once again foist an unpopular government on Nigerians, they threw caution to the winds and started setting electoral materials on fire in states that are well known to be strongholds of opposition.
“These acts of sabotage, no doubt, ruined the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the elections.
“We have raised the alarm many times that agents of the government were working hard to ensure that elections are not held or are declared inconclusive in areas they know that the All Progressives Congress will never win. We have been vindicated.
“We blame the international embarrassment this last minute postponement has caused the nation on the President, the desperate leaders of his party, APC, and the nation’s security agencies who failed woefully in their duties to protect electoral materials and INEC offices from attacks by these enemies of the nation.”
Ugochinyere added that with the postponement, “President Buhari’s judgement day with the people has just been shifted.”
He, however, said the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, displayed courage by shifting the election.
He said the postponement averted what he could have resulted in “national bloodshed because we are aware that APC wanted to proceed with election after compromising distribution and destroying materials in over 15 states.”
PDP rejects postponement, asks INEC chair to resign
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has rejected the new dates announced by the INEC for the conduct of the general elections.
It alleged that shoddy arrangements for the elections were 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.
National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, stated this in the early hours of Saturday.
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.
He added that the action had clearly exposed INEC as a failure and called on its chairman to resign immediately.
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.
Recall that INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had announced that the Presidential and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled to hold today would now hold next Saturday while that of governorship, state houses of Assembly and Abuja area councils had been shifted to March 9.