President Buhari orders military, police to be ruthless with election riggers

Tuesday, 19 Feb, 2019

The party backing top opposition challenger Atiku Abubakar accused President Muhammadu Buhari's administration of "instigating this postponement" with the aim of ensuring a low turnout at the polls.

The Minister said the commission, based on the electoral act, does not have the power to stop campaigns more than 24 hours prior to any election.

Yakubu, who has earlier maintained the electoral body was "good to go" for Saturday's vote, said the delay was "good for our democracy and for our country". It rejected the commission's decision on campaigns, which a PDP statement said was "directly in conflict with the provision of the Electoral Act and is not backed by any other law in our country".

The APC chairman also said the party would write to INEC to discuss issues on how to make the postponed elections, free, fair and credible.

Governorship and state assembly elections will be pushed back to March 9, Mr Yakubu said.

While most Nigerians took the delay in a presidential election in their stride on Sunday, after similar postponements in 2011 and 2015, one presidential candidate and civil society groups expressed concern that the vote could now be compromised.

After the election we have to know exactly what happened and who was responsible, Buhari said to applause by party officials present.

"Even if there was a need to postpone the election it could have been done in a much tidier way that would not have exposed the process to these kinds of risks", he said.

"So, I want to appeal to Nigerians to give INEC a second chance". "(The postponement) has nothing to do with security, nothing to do with political influence, nothing to do with the availability of resources", he told a gathering of foreign election observers and reporters.

Chidoka, requested for INEC assurance that Activate Technologies Limited, one of the companies producing the Permanent Voter Cards would not be involved in the retrieval and reconfiguration of card readers to be used for the rescheduled elections.

Buhari, however, stressed on the need for voters to turn up on the new date (February 23) to cast their ballots: "We have to tell our constituencies that they have to be patient and must react in a very responsible way, by going peacefully to vote again". If they had gone ahead and they conducted the election where some materials were taken to a far destination other than where they were meant for, I still believe, that Nigerians will still blame them.