Kano State is currently witnessing a shutdown as supporters of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) trooped out in thousands to the Sani Abacha stadium in Kano on Sunday.
The presidential candidate was still at the palace of Muhammad Sanusi, emir of Kano, when the mammoth crowd took over the stadium.
Kano, a stronghold of President Muhammadu Buhari, has promised to give Buhari five million votes in the election.
The president secured his highest number of votes in Kano in 2015 but Rabiu Kwankwaso, who was governor when this happened, is now backing Atiku.
Political analysts say with Kwankwaso’s influence, Atiku would secure significant votes in the ancient city.
As at the time of filling this report by 5:15 pm, Atiku and his team were yet to arrive the stadium.
Atiku: Poll Postponement is ‘Hand of Esau But Voice of Jacob’
Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar has appealed to his supporters to remain peaceful following the postponement of the presidential election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced early Saturday morning that it was moving the elections by one week because of logistics.
Atiku, who is flying the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the presidential election, alleged that the shift in date was the handwork of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, employing the biblical expression “hand of Esau, voice of Jacob”.
He said: “As you know, the Independent National Electoral Commission has announced a postponement of the elections until 23 February and 9 March respectively.
“The Buhari administration has had more than enough time and money to prepare for these elections and the Nigerian people were poised and ready to perform their civic responsibility by voting in the elections earlier scheduled for Saturday, 16 February, 2019.
“This postponement is obviously a case of the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob. By instigating this postponement, the Buhari administration hopes to disenfranchise the Nigerian electorate in order to ensure that turn out is low on the rescheduled date. Nigerians must frustrate their plans by coming out in even greater numbers on Saturday, 23 February and Saturday, 9 March respectively.
“Knowing that the Nigerian people are determined to reject them, they are desperate and will do anything in their power to avoid their rejection by the Nigerian people.
“Their plan is to provoke the public, hoping for a negative reaction, and then use that as an excuse for further anti-democratic acts.”
He asked his supporters to be patient “in the face of provocation”.
Atiku also urged them to come and vote en masse on the new dates.
“I call on all Nigerians to be patient. We have tolerated the maladministration of this government for four years. We can extend our tolerance a few more days and give them our verdict via our votes,” he said.
“Maintain the peace and be law abiding. Do not react to this provocation with anger, violence or any action that might be exploited by those who do not want this election to hold. Remain calm. We will overcome this. You can postpone an election, but you cannot postpone destiny.
“Please come out to vote on Saturday, 23 February and Saturday, 9 March respectively. Frustrate those who do not want this election to hold by coming out in very large numbers. That is the best antidote to their plans.
“May God bless you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
APC Campaign Fingers PDP As Brain Behind Poll Shift
The presidential campaign council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has suggested that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was behind the postponement of the general election because it was heading for defeat.
Expressing disappointment with the postponement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Festus Keyamo, the spokesman of the council, said PDP social media influencers already knew the elections would be moved before the umpire announced it.
He said every poll had suggested that the PDP would lose.
HERE IS HIS FULL STATEMENT.
We have just received with great disappointment and disillusionment the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of its decision to postpone the Presidential/National Assembly and Gubernatorial/House of Assembly Elections to Saturday, February 23, 2019 and Saturday, March 9, 2019, respectively.
We condemn and deprecate this tardiness of the electoral umpire in the strongest terms possible. President Muhammadu Buhari had since cooperated fully with INEC by ensuring EVERYTHING it demanded to conduct free and fair elections were promptly made available to it. This news is therefore a huge disappointment to us and to our teeming supporters nationwide and around the world, many of whom have come into the country to exercise their franchise.
We do hope that INEC will remain neutral and impartial in this process as the rumor mill is agog with the suggestion that this postponement has been orchestrated in collusion with the main opposition, the PDP, that was NEVER ready for this election. We note that all the major credible demographic projections have predicted a defeat of the PDP and it seriously needed this breather to orchestrate more devious strategies to try and halt President Buhari’s momentum. It did the same as the ruling Party in 2015, when it realized the game was up, by orchestrating the postponement of the 2015 elections by six weeks. Now, it may be up to its old trick again.
We have earlier raised the alarm that the PDP is bent on discrediting this process the moment it realized it cannot make up the numbers to win this election. We are only urging INEC not collude with the PDP on this. We are truly worried because as early as Friday morning, some known PDP Social Media influencers unwittingly announced this postponement, but quickly deleted the message and apologized to the public that it was fake news. We do not want to be forced to a situation of announcing our total loss of confidence in INEC, because we know where that would leave our democracy.
It is in the light of the above that we wish to appeal to Nigerians and our supporters to be patient, calm and resolute despite this temporary setback. Let us not give anyone, especially the PDP, the opportunity to plunge this nation into a crises, which is what they earnestly desire. Its imminent defeat is just a few days away.
Lastly, we wish to draw the attention of INEC and the world to observe that the PDP has clearly and openly said it plans to announce parallel results through some funny device it has procured or developed. We wish to re-iterate that it is ONLY INEC that is legally and constitutionally empowered to declare results and it constitutes an offence for anyone to do so. We urge INEC to SPEAK UP NOW and warn the PDP to desist from this ignoble act that is capable of plunging the nation into a crises of immeasurable proportions.
INEC Postpones Presidential Poll Till Feb 23
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has moved the presidential and national assembly elections till February 23.
The governorship and state assembly elections will now hold on March 9.
He said the decision was taken after a careful review of the plan for the exercise.
“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and the determination to conduct free, fair and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible,” he said.
“Consequently, the commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, 23 February 2019.
“Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections is rescheduled to Saturday 9th March 2019. This will afford the Commission the opportunity to address identified challenges in order to maintain the quality of our elections.
“This was a difficult decision for the Commission to take, but necessary for the successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.”
He announced that the commission will meet key stakeholders to update them on the development at 2pm on Saturday.
INEC had summoned stakeholders to an emergency meeting on Friday night following logistics problem in some states.
In Ekiti state, electoral materials had not arrived some areas as of 9pm. There were also issues in Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Taraba and Rivers.
In 2011, the national assembly elections were postponed because of insufficient materials shortly after voting had commenced nationwide.
Four years later, elections were moved by six weeks to allow the military tackle the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, although many thought it was because the incumbent government was afraid of losing.
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