Don’t Al­low Buhari Ma­nip­u­late Your Votes, Atiku Tells Nige­ri­ans

APC backs INEC on elec­tion guide­lines

THISDAY - - FRONT PAGE - Onye­buchi Ezigbo and Ade­dayo Ak­in­wale in Abuja

The pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP), Al­haji Atiku Abubakar, has urged Nige­ri­ans not to al­low Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari to ma­nip­u­late their votes in the Fe­bru­ary 16 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

This came as the All Pro­gres­sives Con­gress (APC) yes­ter­day ex­pressed sup­port for the steps rolled out by the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) in prepa­ra­tions for the forth­com­ing gen­eral elec­tions.

The PDP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date al­leged that the des­per­ate at­tempts by the Buhari pres­i­dency to ma­nip­u­late the elec­toral process, in­clud­ing the foist­ing of his re­la­tion as the head of the col­la­tion cen­ter for pres­i­den­tial elec­tion re­sults, as well as hound­ing of ju­di­cial of­fi­cers, are all geared to­wards Buhari's plans to ma­nip­u­late votes in the elec­tion.

Atiku stated this, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment yes­ter­day by the Di­rec­tor of Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity of his cam­paign or­gan­i­sa­tion, Mr. Kola Olog­bondiyan, at an in­ter­ac­tive ses­sion with some youth groups, so­cial me­dia in­flu­encers and blog­gers in Abuja, stat­ing that the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion has wrecked the na­tion and must be voted out for the na­tion to thrive again.

He quoted Atiku to have said, “Pres­i­dent Buhari has [taken] your jobs. He has (taken) your rights. Don’t let him (ma­nip­u­late) your votes. They are pre­par­ing the ground to (ma­nip­u­late) your votes. I know that Nige­ri­ans are ready to Get Nige­ria Work­ing Again, but don’t let Pres­i­dent Buhari (ma­nip­u­late) your votes.’’

Atiku said Nige­ria had never been in such a bad shape as it is to­day, not even dur­ing the civil war.

‘’Things are re­ally bad. We have never had the econ­omy this bad and the na­tion has not been as in­se­cure as we are un­der the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion. That is why we all must work to­gether to res­cue our na­tion and make it work again,” he said.

Mean­while APC said yes­ter­day that it sup­ports the steps rolled out by INEC in its prepa­ra­tions for the forth­com­ing gen­eral elec­tions.

About 61 op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties had re­jected some pro­vi­sions of the draft guide­lines re­leased by INEC last week, in­sist­ing that it fell short of ex­pec­ta­tions.

The spokesman of the Coali­tion of United Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties (CUPP) and Na­tional Chair­man of the Ac­tion Peo­ples Party (APP), Mr. Imo Ugochinyere, said the par­ties de­mand the re­ten­tion of 2011 and 2015 guide­lines on sep­a­rate ac­cred­i­ta­tion time and sep­a­rate vot­ing time to fore­stall rig­ging.

Ugochinyere fur­ther said that op­po­si­tion par­ties want the an­nounce­ment of ac­cred­i­ta­tion fig­ures by 12 noon on elec­tion day and recorded in a signed form and given to party agents be­fore vot­ing starts to fore­stall doc­tor­ing of elec­tion fig­ures dur­ing col­la­tion.

He also said that po­lit­i­cal par­ties wanted the stop­page of PVC col­lec­tion 10 days to elec­tion and dis­clo­sure of the to­tal num­ber of PVC col­lected on polling unit ba­sis to po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

The CUPP spokesman added that the par­ties re­jected the clauses in the guide­line, which al­lows un­duly ac­cred­ited vot­ers to vote es­pe­cially, the clause that al­lows vot­ers with PVC, whose name is not in the regis­ter of vot­ers to vote.

How­ever, while speak­ing on the guide­lines is­sued by INEC for the gen­eral elec­tions, the Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary of the APC, Mal­lam Lanre Isa-Onilu, said the party had gone through it and has no ob­jec­tions on any of the pro­vi­sions.

He said, "For us in the APC, we have con­fi­dence in all the in­sti­tu­tions of gov­ern­ment, in­clud­ing INEC. The guide­lines pro­vided by INEC, we know a lot of thought must have gone into it, and we are con­fi­dent that they are do­ing the best that they can; and that any­thing that will sup­port free and fair elec­tion, that will make our polls to be cred­i­ble, we are com­pletely in sup­port of it.

‘’So we are both in the habit of try­ing to fish out prob­lems. We are in sup­port of any ac­tion be­ing pro­posed by the com­mis­sion geared to­wards strength­en­ing our democ­racy. We are very sup­port­ive of that and we don't have any prob­lems about as far as APC is con­cerned."

On the is­sue of con­di­tions spelt out for the use of In­ci­dence Forms by INEC in the gen­eral elec­tions, the APC spokesman said, “The rul­ing party is not sur­prised be­cause the only thing that PDP doesn't kick against is cor­rup­tion.

"Is there any­thing PDP has not kicked against, the only thing they don't kick against is cor­rup­tion. They kick against ev­ery­thing that gov­ern­ment does. For us in the APC, we know that pro­gres­sively INEC is get­ting bet­ter be­cause the right en­vi­ron­ment has been pro­vided for them to be able to con­duct cred­i­ble elec­tions.

‘’In the over 90 elec­tions that INEC has con­ducted, since the APC-led ad­min­is­tra­tion cam­paign came into be­ing, all have shown that the com­mis­sion is in­de­pen­dent. So we will en­cour­age them to con­tinue to do the best they can and as a party we will al­ways abide by the rules.’’

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