The Presidency has clarified the position of President Muhammadu Buhari regarding the supplementary election expected to hold in some states on March 23.
In a statement on Sunday, the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, asked members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the affected states to prepare well for the poll.
He restated the President’s promise to ensure that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) carry out its duties effectively.
Shehu said his principal remained committed to this and informed the party members not to expect the interference of President Buhari in the coming election.
According to him, there has always been interference with electoral processes when elections are declared inconclusive in the past but it is no longer business as usual.
The President’s spokesman noted that some APC members and others from the opposition were already criticising President Buhari ahead of the election.
He said it was ridiculous to fault the President for “not going against the Constitution”, adding that he would not compromise his integrity.
Shehu insisted that the manipulation of election results was never part of what President Buhari was known for and as such, INEC would be allowed to carry out its duty without interference.
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The presidency has cautioned against a lot of the hate spewing, incitement to violence and the polarizing statements by so-called political leaders as a number of states brace up for supplementary elections prescribed by the National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The presidency also rejects unfair and ridiculous criticisms of President Muhammadu Buhari’s apparent disinterest in the upcoming elections in some states by party members who wrongfully assume that the president will abuse power by changing results to favour them.
Past Presidents of Nigeria were known to interfere in inconclusive elections, and that is why party members appear to be upset that the same thing is not happening now, but President Buhari is a different kind of leader. He swore to defend the constitution and will not veer off from that.
The constitution of Nigeria gives the President no such powers. It is unfair and ridiculous to criticise President Buhari for not going against the constitution.
Party members in states where there will be supplementary elections then need to be reminded that they need to work hard to earn their people’s votes, rather than expect President Buhari to manipulate INEC in their favour.
Interestingly, while members of the ruling APC party were criticising the president for not interfering on their behalf, members of the opposition were condemning the president based on their assumptions that he would definitely interfere, as many in the opposition did while in power.
Under President Buhari, INEC had been and will be completely independent throughout the elections, free from any interference.
President Buhari is a man of conviction, and the manipulation of election results goes against everything he stands for INEC is completely in charge.