Nigeria: Atiku Alleges Plans to Postpone Elections in Three Northern States

INEC says there will be no further delays.
20 February 2019

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has reported plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to 'use' the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the forthcoming elections in Borno, Adamawa and Kaduna states.

Mr Abubakar in a statement signed by a spokesperson, Phrank Shaibu, on Tuesday, alleged that the plot was hatched at a closed-door meeting between the federal government and the three state governors in Abuja.

He warned that the move to hold staggered elections would not be accepted.

He said the action, if carried out, would enable the APC led government to get enough time to rig elections in those states.

"Anything short of a simultaneous holding of the scheduled elections across the country on Saturday is not acceptable to us," the former vice president said.

He said the reports available to the PDP reflect the desperation of the APC to win, at all cost, especially the said states and some others using security reasons as a pretext for postponement of polls.

"The deal, cut at a meeting with some northern governors and service chiefs in the presidential villa in Abuja is simple: The FG will shift election in the northern states of Borno, Adamawa and Kaduna citing security concerns to provide the APC the opportunity use security agents to massively rig polls in those states at a later date," the statement said.

"The implication of the plot is that President Buhari, for all his sweet words on ensuring free and fair elections and avoiding unethical measures to win at all costs, is ready to do anything just to "capture" Borno, Adamawa, Kaduna and other states using security reasons as a pretext," he said

The candidate said his demand for a strict adherence ahead of the general elections is in the interest of Nigerians and the growth of democracy.

"The PDP would not lose any sleep over the ignoble deal since the battle to rescue Nigeria from incompetence and bad leadership will be fought by the people themselves and not by some desperate APC governors and or President Buhari."

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the INEC director of publicity and voter education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, he said "INEC did not attend the said meeting and is therefore not aware of the allegation".

"The INEC cannot be bound by the outcome a meeting it did not attend," he said.

Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to Mr Buhari, also told PREMIUM TIMES "he was not at the villa when the (alleged) meeting happened".

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