Election Postponement: Saraki, Kisira, Atunwa, Rafiu, others react


Senate President and Director General of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has said the last minute postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections has caused a great inconvenience to many Nigerians who are poised to vote for their choice as president and federal legislators.

Saraki in a statement in Ilorin expressed shock and disappointment that after all the preparations by the electoral commission, the security services and other agencies of government, issues of logistics and related matters are now said to be responsible for postponing the federal elections at a time when Nigerians were ready to cast their votes.

“Waiting till just a few hours to commencement of voting before announcing postponement of elections is extremely sad. Nobody can quantify the difficulty that this will bring to people at every level. I empathize with youth corps members who have been relocated from their places of primary assignment to assist with the conduct of the elections. My thoughts also go to civil servants who left their bases to go and vote in their hometowns. I also sympathize with millions of ordinary Nigerian traders whose businesses were suspended because of the no movement order. Thus, the costs of this postponement are incalculable.

“However, I want to appeal to Nigerians not to be deterred, discouraged or disappointed. They must continue to be strong and determined to cast their votes for their preferred candidates. Next Saturday, they should try and forget the current setback and troop out en masse to vote for their preferred candidates. Not voting because of the postponement is not a good option for Nigerians. My appeal to our people is that we must still go out next Saturday to exercise our franchise.

“At this point, Government and INEC should focus on what is the way forward and ensure that the elections take place as rescheduled. They should move swiftly to smoothen all the rough edges. The commission must ensure we do not have a repeat of what happened today. We have been saying it that the 2019 elections should be a clear improvement on that of 2015.

“Nigerians are wiser. They will definitely punish this government that has displayed incompetence, lack of capacity and foresight and vote for the team that will get Nigeria working again.

“Let me urge our people to continue in their determination to cast their votes. They should remain resolute and come out en mass next Saturday to vote for the PDP. The Atiku-Obi ticket has the momentum on its side. This postponement will not slow us down. We have seven more days to get more voters to come out next Saturday and vote massively for PDP candidates”, Saraki stated.


…decision unpleasant for nation’s devt – Kisira

The Kwara State Deputy Governor, Elder Peter Kisira has described the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections as unpleasant and not too good development for the nation.

Elder Kisira stated this on Saturday in Ilesha Baruba, Baruten Local government area while answering questions from newsmen.

The Deputy Governor noted that the postponement on the eve of the Elections had caused hardship to Nigerians who had travelled to their various localities with the hope of performing their civic responsibilities.

He explained that the postponement had given the Country negative image that should be addressed by concerned authorities.

Elder Kisira called for compensation to the various political parties and the electorate to cushion the effect on the people.

The Deputy Governor  implored INEC to address the grey areas that necessitated the postponement to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

He advised Nigerians to be calm and be law abiding adding that the progress and development of the Nation should be paramount in whatever they do.


…shift in poll, sign of poor leadership, says Atunwa

Gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State, Hon. Razak Atunwa has decried the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections, saying it portrayed the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as basically incompetent.

Atunwa, while speaking with newsmen in Ilorin, Kwara state, also expressed dismay that the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmoud Yakub could not even apologise to Nigerians who badly affected by the postponement in the terse statement he issued on the development early yesterday.

The PDP flag bearer while acknowledging widespread insinuations that the postponement was politically influenced however expressed confidence that the party would still coast home to victory at the next scheduled dates.

He alleged serious collusion between the electoral body and the All Progressive Congress (APC)- led federal government in the postponement saying INEC had all along assured Nigerians that it was ready for the election  until few hours before the poll when it suddenly turned around.

He pointed at the heavy presence of security chiefs in the state, such as the deployment of three police commissioners, directors of the state security service and others as serious pointers to the allegation that the APC was making every effort to influenced the poll in Kwara by intimidating voters.

He reiterated his vision to make Kwara the entrepreneur capital of Nigeria if elected saying he would key -in seriously into the vision  of the PDP Presidential candidate,Atiku Abubakar to undertake massive employment for young Kwarans.

“We will undertake employment galore in the state, we will provide opportunities for our youths whose major need today is to have jobs. We will ensure the welfare of the people of Kwara because it is another of our priorities just as we have undertaken to pay the new minimum wage.”


…disgrace to our democracy – Rafiu Ibrahim

By Mumini Abdulkareem and Mathew Denis

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Kwara South Senatorial seat, Dr Rafiu Ibrahim, yesterday, reacted to postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a text message forwarded to our reporter, Sen. Ibrahim described the decision as disgrace and disappointment to our nation.

He said, “It’s very sad, disappointing and a disgrace to our nation. INEC has to fully explain to the whole world that this is not a ploy to rig for the APC. Postponement on election date is not excusable base on logistical reasons. We call on the whole world to help us keep vigil and avert the calamity they (APC) intend on the nation just to seat tight at all cost. Nigerians are fully mobilised for this election and we will not take anything less than credible.”

Similarly, the factional Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Alhaji Ishola Balogun-Fulani described the postponement as very disappointing adding that people had travelled far places to cast their votes.

Speaking further, he said whether the development will affect the outcome of the election that has now been shifted to next Saturday depends on the interest of the electorate.

Meanwhile, when contacted last night, the Kwara State INEC Chairman, Garba Attahiru Madami allayed fears of the electorate saying the postponement will not affect the commission in the state.

He said, “We have contingency fund that will take care of the situation that we are now in terms of logistics and mobilization. So there is no cause for alarm as far as we are concerned.

Similarly, the spokesperson of the commission in the state, Barr. Jacob Ayanda said, sensitive materials have been returned to the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ilorin branch. He added that there will not be much issue with some of the ad hoc staff that had traveled because most of them were sourced from the areas they were posted to in the first place.

On his part, the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, Kwara State chapter, Prof. Babatunde Opoola said, the postponement will discourage electorate from coming out en mass to on the rescheduled date having spent their time and money traveling from one part of the country to another.

He said, “It was so unfortunate that such a situation occurred. However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should have informed Nigerians earlier about the postponement.

“On our part as Christian association, we are praying and seeking God’s intervention for a violence free election, come this Saturday.”


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