The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the shift in the dates of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), describing it as an `act of wickedness’.
PDP National Chairman, Mr Uche Secondus said this in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr Ike Abonyi on Saturday in Abuja.
INEC had on Saturday morning shifted the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday Feb. 16 to Feb. 23, while state elections also rescheduled from March 2 to March 9.
Secondus described the postponement as part of a “grand design by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to thwart the will of Nigerians at all cost”, which he said had clearly exposed the INEC as a failure.
He called on the Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu to resign immediately.
Secondus alleged that the shoddy arrangement for the elections by INEC was a deliberate predetermined agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari to cling on to power even when it is obvious to him that Nigerians wanted him out.
“The PDP leader warns 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.
“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 unacceptable”.
Secondus said that the party was privy to all the pressures from the APC and the federal government to arm-twist the INEC to dance to their new strategy after the earlier ones failed.
“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 also described the action as `huge cost’ to Nigerians including those who came home from abroad and had mobilised to their various constituencies.
The National Chairman recalled that the PDP had earlier alerted Nigerians that the APC was coming up with lined up rigging strategies including burning down of INEC offices and engineering crisis in PDP strong hold 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 scare the people from voting knowing too well that they were not going to record any vote from the area.
He recalled that that the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el rufai had earlier threatened international election observers of going to their country in body bags.
The chairman said that with the fatal violence in the state on the eve of election, it was clear that the motives were to frighten the observers from the state.
Secondus also regretted the deployment of soldiers and other security agencies to arrest, harass and intimidate opponents in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Kano, Kaduna states.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, announcing the postponement said that after 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 was no longer feasible.
Yakubu said that the decision would afford the commission the opportunity to address identified challenges to maintain the quality of our elections.
He described it as a `difficult decision’ for the commission to take, but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of Nigeria’s democracy.
The INEC Chairman 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.