The All Progressives Congress (APC) Campaign Organisation has said the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was in the know of the postponed elections announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed last Saturday.
But the PDP said there were fresh facts at its disposal pointing to the federal government and the APC’s plan to sabotage INEC in a “well-orchestrated plot to engineer a staggered presidential election.”
INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu said the body postponed the Presidential/National Assembly polls owing to some logistic challenges.
He also said the commission regretted the action and apologised to all stakeholders for the development.
But the ruling party said the PDP was in the know of the election postponement and therefore asked INEC to ensure more transparency and daily briefing of the process leading to election with effect from Monday.
APC Directorate of Election Planning and Monitoring and the Directorate of Contact and Mobilisation led by Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Raji Fashola and Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, said this while addressing journalists Sunday night in Abuja.
They said Nigerians should convert their disappointment to determination and ensure their previous sacrifice does not go to waste.
On PDP’s involvement in the postponement, Fashola said: “As a party, our disappointment is doubled due to the fact that unlike some who were apparently privy to this postponement in advance, we found out alongside the public a few hours before the polls opened.
“As a result of the common pain shared by us all, we, the directorate of election planning and monitoring, and contact and mobilisation on behalf of APC Campaign Council, demand greater openness and transparency in the commission’s preparations ahead of Saturday, 23rd February, 2019.”
Fashola also said INEC should come clean on “steps taken with CBN to assess, take inventory of materials and brief the public about what their condition is;
“The status of INEC’s plans to procure and provide materials for election and in particular let Nigerians know if all materials required are in country, and if not what plans the commission has to ensure that they are; INEC’s plans to re-deploy and distribute materials ahead of Saturday, 23rd February, 2019;
“The specific problems INEC encountered in the failed attempt of Saturday, 16th February, 2019 and measures it has taken to overcome them?
“What transport logistics and further materials INEC require in terms of vehicles, boats, trucks, airplanes, helicopters, manpower and funding INEC requires to execute the elections of February 23rd and March 9th; confirmation that the configuration of the card readers will be completed in readiness for Saturday, 23rd February, 2019.
“As President Buhari has urged that ‘Nigerians should continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment,’ INEC has the duty to now make its processes open, believable and inspiring. This is what Nigerians can and will rally round.”
Asked to justify his claim that PDP was privy to the postponement he said: “Yes it is true that there are reports on social media because we are also monitoring all the news and we have credible reports by our media team (can give to you) that shows that opposition party, the main opposition PDP was ready for the postponement through their spokespersons on the media. So my media team can provide you that materials.”
Countering, however, the PDP said Sunday there were fresh facts that the federal government and the APC was sabotaging INEC to achieve staggered elections.
The National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “Nigerians will recall that the PDP had vehemently protested the continued retention of President Muhammadu Buhari’s relation, Mrs. Amina Zakari in INEC.
“We have been reliably informed that the same Amina Zakari and another high-ranking INEC commissioner played a pivotal role in assisting the APC and Buhari Presidency in sabotaging the operations of INEC and scuttling the February 16 elections.”
Ologbondiyan, who is also the director media and publicity of PDP presidential campaign organisation said, “The reason for this is that President Buhari is determined to have a staggered election where he can use security agencies to subvert the will of the people at the polls.
“These APC elements in INEC engineered actions that affected the distribution and delivery of INEC sensitive materials to designated locations, thereby frustrating the electoral process.”
“We also have details of how a hired a team of data hackers corrupted the voter register, with a view to causing mass confusion and voter suppression on the election day.
“Nigerians would have been shocked that many registered voters in possession of their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) would have arrived their polling centers on election day, only to discover to their amazement that their names have disappeared from the register in their units.
“Intelligence available to us further details how agents of the Buhari Presidency infiltrated the distribution system and ensured (that) sensitive election materials do not arrive at the designated locations, with a view to stalling elections in several states and pave way for a staggered election.
“This is in addition to deliberate swapping of sensitive election materials between different states and local governments so as to muddle up the process and stall election in affected areas. In some of states like Edo, sensitive election materials did not arrive at their designated points on APC interruption.
“The PDP urges Nigerians to continue to be alert in resisting the APC and the Buhari Presidency in their plot to sabotage our elections. Our promise to Nigerians is that we will continue to stand with the people in exposing APC’s rigging plots and stopping them from creating more havoc and destruction of our democratic process.
“We therefore call on President Buhari to save himself from further disgrace as the signpost of enemy of democracy, by ensuring that his cabal and their ilk in APC cease forthwith from tampering with our electoral process.”
In a related development, Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC Zamfara Central) said Zamfara state Governor Abdulaziz Yari had a hand in the postponed elections.
Senator Marafa stated this Sunday in a statement issued in Abuja.
He said weeks and days before the election day, Yari boasted several times in Zamfara that there would not be election in the state and by extension Nigeria if the logo of the ruling APC wasn’t included on the ballot papers.
The lawmaker further said the threat from the governor and eventual postponement of the elections by INEC clearly exposed him as part of the saboteurs of the earlier planned elections and should be held responsible alongside others involved in the postponement.
He said: “During the grand finale of his illegal campaign rallies in his hometown, Talata Mafara, Zamfara on Friday, 8th February, he rained abuses and said unprintable things on the person of INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and swore that unless his candidates were enlisted to contest, there won’t be elections in Zamfara state and the entire country. Now it has come to pass, what next?
“I’m calling on the authorities to hold Yari and his accomplices responsible for this treasonable sabotage against the country, Nigerians and humanity in general.
“Just search on the internet, including YouTube, you will see the stories and videos of where Yari stated emphatically that unless his candidates were accepted, elections won’t hold in Zamfara state and Nigeria.
“I am not surprised that immediately after the announcement of the postponement, Yari’s boys rushed to the media particularly radio stations, jubilating that they have succeeded. This unfortunate incidence should be probed and condemned by all lovers of the country.”
Marafa also stated that when Yari conducted illegal primaries last year, he drew the “attention of Nigerians and the world on the dangers inherent in accepting that abuse of our laws. But instead of being reprimanded, Yari went ahead to the courts to legalise his illegality.
“Today, the APC has abandoned its earlier position that it only had a consensus to supporting Yari’s illegal election. This is very sad and unfortunate.
“This is the time to tell Yari and his co-travellers, that Nigeria is bigger than them and their collective ambitions. Only a positive pronouncement from the court of appeal, not the desperation of a satanic lawyer and a desperate governor or anybody can change the status quo of Zamfara APC.”