By Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary, and Director, Media & Publicity
PDP Presidential Campaign Organization
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is shocked and vehemently rejects the sudden postponement of the February 16 Presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), few hours before the commencement of polls.
This decision by INEC is a grand plot to give the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari Presidency the space to perfect their rigging plans, which have been resisted by Nigerians to this point.
Our party and the people’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have worked very hard in readiness for the election; our members and supporters, in their millions and generality of Nigerians that are eager to participate in the democratic process had already moved close to their polling units in readiness to vote and to defend their votes.
In some cases, Nigerians were already at their polling units in orderly queue in the hope to vote out the incompetent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Countless of patriotic Nigerians and families had spent huge resources and made exhaustive sacrifices in travelling to their various polling areas to vote for their consensus candidate, Atiku Abubakar, only for INEC to announce this devastating postponement.
The public space is replete with how the Buhari Presidency mounted pressure on INEC leadership to postpone the election at the dying minute, so as to place more burdens on voters and frustrate their enthusiasm for the election.
Nigerians have lost trillions of naira, risked their lives on the road and in the air as well as faced other huge loses just because President Buhari is bent on perpetuating his inordinate quest to remain in office.
President Buhari in his desperation for power has again exhibited his insensitivity to the sensibilities of Nigerians, particularly in his deceitful attempt to heap blames on INEC for a plot that was hatched and executed by his Presidency.
It is instructive to state that the reasons given for the postponement, including the logistic challenges in the distribution of sensitive election materials, as well as security concerns, were all the machinations of the APC and the Buhari Presidency to create confusion and arrive at a predetermined end, which is to rig the election.
The APC and the Buhari Presidency, having realized that they have no chance of winning had continued to prepare the ground by inciting acts of violence in various parts of the country, issuing threats to election observers, using the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to escalate a sense of insecurity, burning INEC offices to paralyze its operations as well as using government officials to openly mount pressure on the commission to shift the elections.
This is in addition to the compromising of government facilities and agencies to frustrate the distribution of sensitive election materials including results sheets in various states; the provocative substitution of already trained INEC polling officials with APC members as well as the deployment of security forces to simultaneously arrest PDP leaders and supporters, particularly in Kwara, Akwa-Ibom, Imo, Kano, Kaduna, Rivers, Kogi, Bayelsa among other states in order to create a sense of national insecurity and trigger violent resistance by the people.
APC’s new plot is to escalate series of challenges that will eventually paralyze INEC’s operation in some states so as to stagger the election and pave way to isolate certain critical states, after which it will use compromised security agents to muzzle the polls in those states in favour of President Buhari.
Our response to INEC and the Buhari Presidency is that they have only succeeded in postponing the evil day for their candidate, President Buhari. Nigerians will never adjust in their resolve to resist the APC rigging plans and serve President Buhari his defeat certificate at the polls any day, any time.
The PDP therefore stands with Nigerians at this critical moment and urge them to stand together in the overall interest of our nation. Our party appreciates the sacrifices and commitment made by Nigerians in the pursuit of a new leadership in our country; we understand the pains and distress they are passing through at this moment due to this postponement.
Nevertheless, the PDP urges Nigerians not to despair or allow our resilient spirit for which we are known all over the world to be subjugated at this crucial time. We must pick up ourselves against all odds and stand firm for the future of our dear nation.
In that regard, the PDP directs all our members and supporters to remain calm and encourage one another at this critical time. We all must stand together in preparation for the final push next Saturday. We must never give up until victory is assured.
Nigerians will never surrender to President Buhari’s anti-democratic forces that want to subjugate our people and derail our hard-earned democracy. President Buhari should therefore perish the thought of rigging this election or achieving a self-succession bid
The PDP calls on the international community to note what is happening in Nigeria and hold President Buhari as well as the APC responsible should there be any breakdown of law and order in our country.
(This is the text of a press conference by R. Ologbondiyan in Abuja this Saturday)