Mr Donald Duke, the embattled presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has alleged that it was practically impossible for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to have taken the decision to postpone the polls last Saturday without the nod of the presidency.
Speaking at the weekend, shortly after the shift in election date was made public, Duke said the decision to postpone the polls was a script written for INEC by the APC-led federal government with a view to stripping the opposition of all funds.
“It’s unheard of. I mean, how low would we get? Each time we think we’ve hit the rock bottom; we find out that there is even a basement, a lower bottom to get to. And you know something; if you are a swimmer, you don’t spring up until you get to the bottom. In other words, we are not yet there at the bottom.
“We all know that the government in power has unlimited access to finance, but the opposition does not. So, by the time you get to Election Day, the opposition is exhausted or barely able to go through the process,” he stated.
Describing the postponement as “a well scripted legal coup, taken to the next level to bleed the opposition of finance to execute the elections,” Duke said the ruling party was hoping to benefit from the postponement because it has a near unlimited access to finance.
He said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) initiated the custom of postponing elections days to the exercise, but the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken the practice to another worrying level, postponing it hours to the polls.
The former Cross River state governor called on the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu Mahmoud, to resign honourably as the postponement has put the credibility of any elections conducted by him into question. He said the election shift has turned Nigeria to an instrument of mockery.
In his reaction, a legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mba Ukweni, said “the postponement has caused enormous expenditures both from government, political parties, electorates and candidates. People have travelled long distances to their villages to participate in the voting but here, there are no elections.
“The failure of INEC to conduct elections on Saturday Feb 16th has great consequences including credibility, trust and spending of more money. The political parties, politicians electorates and others would incur additional expenses as what they have budgeted for the election are wasted and they would cough out additional expenses.”