By Andrew Onyejuruuwa
The spokesman to President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Garba Shehu, said the president will neither interfere with the supplementary polls in five states nor ask the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to change results in favour of his party. Buhari sort for reelection on the platform of the All Progressive Party (APC) and was subsequently declared winner in the election, which was marred by irregularities and being challenged in court by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Shehu in a statement claimed that some APC leaders whom he did not name are expecting Buhari to abuse his office by usurping the powers of INEC to turn the tables in their favour. According to him, INEC is fully in charge of electoral matters in the country, advising party leaders in the affected states to work hard to earn the votes of the people.
He said some members of the ruling party are unhappy with Buhari over the stance but the president would do only what is acceptable by the law. He said, “The presidency also rejects unfair and ridiculous criticisms of President Muhammadu Buhari’s apparent disinterest in the upcoming elections in some states by party members who wrongfully assume that the President will abuse his power by changing results to favour them.”
He alleged that “Past presidents of Nigeria were known to interfere in inconclusive elections, and that is why party members appear to be upset that the same thing is not happening now. President Buhari is a different kind of leader. He swore to defend the constitution and he will not veer off from that. The Constitution of Nigeria gives the president no such powers. It is unfair and ridiculous to criticise President Buhari for not going against the Constitution. Party members in states where there will be supplementary elections then need to be reminded that they need to work hard to earn their people’s votes, rather than expect President Buhari to manipulate INEC in their favour.”