By Andrew Onyejuruuwa
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, has reacted to the last minute postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with absolute maturity by asking Nigerians to remain peaceful in the face of what he described as “provocation.”
Atiku said this in a statement he personally signed in the early hours of today Saturday February 16, 2019 while reacting to the shift in the dates for the conduct of the general elections as announced by the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. Atiku signed the statement, which he addressed to Nigerians from Yola, Adamawa State where he had gone to perform his civic responsibility.
The former Vice-President to former President Olusegun Obasanjo said that it was unfortunate that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has again failed to utilise the time it had to organise the elections. He sarcastically likened the actions of the commission to the Biblical hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob. He said, “As you know, the Independent National Electoral Commission has announced a postponement of the elections until February 23 and March 9respectively.
“The Buhari administration has had more than enough time and money to prepare for these elections and the Nigerian people were poised and ready to perform their civic responsibility by voting in the elections earlier scheduled for Saturday, February 16, 2019. This postponement is obviously a case of the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob. By instigating this postponement, the Buhari administration hopes to disenfranchise the Nigerian electorate in order to ensure that turn out is low on the rescheduled date.
“Nigerians must frustrate their plans by coming out in even greater numbers on Saturday, February 23 and Saturday, March 9 respectively. Knowing that the Nigerian people are determined to reject them, they are desperate and will do anything in their power to avoid their rejection by the Nigerian people. Their plan is 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.”
The PDP candidate however asked Nigerians to maintain the peace and still endure to come out to vote on the new dates when he further pleaded, “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, February 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. May God bless you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Alhaji Atiku pleaded.