from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA – NIGERIA is on a knife-edge after authorities postponed general elections this past weekend.
The rescheduling of the presidential and parliamentary votes to the coming Saturday has been met with anger and raised allegations of rigging by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Announcing the postponement in the early hours leading to the initial election day on Saturday, INEC argued proceeding with the elections as scheduled was unfeasible.
It stated the decision was based on a review of its logistics and
operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), an umbrella body of all registered parties, described the postponement as a deliberate plot by “anti-democratic forces” to derail democracy and enthrone an interim government.
“The ruling party and the INEC should be held accountable should our fears come to materialization as there might be another postponement of the rescheduled February 23 national elections,” said CNPP Secretary-General, Willy Ezugwu.
Atiku Abubakar, the main challenger (People’s Democratic Party ‘PDP’) to the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, alleged the postponement was a strategy by the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) to provoke the public, hope for a negative reaction and justify “further anti-democratic acts.”
“This postponement is obviously a case of the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob. You can postpone an election, but you cannot postpone destiny,” he said.
The former Vice President, however, appealed for patience and calm from citizens.
Buhari expressed disappointment at the decision by INEC.
He however appealed for support to INEC “at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.”
“I therefore appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder
and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure no force or conspiracy derails our democratic development,” Buhari said.
Deadly violence and vote rigging fears marred preparations for polls.
– CAJ News