By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has urged Nigerians to be patient over decision to shift elections by one week.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gave logistic reasons for shifting all the elections by one week.
Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday Feb. 16 were shifted to Feb. 23, while state elections also scheduled for March 2 were also moved to March 9.
In a statement he issued on Saturday in Yola, Abubakar urged Nigerians not to react to the postponement with violence, but come out to vote on the new day.
Abubakar said that the All Progesives Congress (APC) had more than enough time and money to prepare for these elections and that Nigerians were poised and ready to perform their civic responsibility by voting in the elections earlier scheduled for Saturday.
“This postponement is obviously a case of the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob.”
He said that the postponement was to disenfranchise the Nigerian electorate to ensure that the turnout is low on the rescheduled date.
“Nigerians must frustrate their plans by coming out in even greater numbers on Saturday, Feb. 23 and March respectively.”
Abubakar said that the plan was 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.
“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, Feb. 23 and Saturday, March 9 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,’’ he said.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmmood Yakubu said that the Commission would meet key stakeholders to update them on the development at 2 p.m. on Saturday, at the Abuja International Conference Centre.
Yakubu said that the decision would afford the Commission the opportunity to address identified challenges to maintain the quality of the elections. (NAN)