Don’t Allow Buhari Manipulate Your Votes, Atiku Tells Nigerians
APC backs INEC on election guidelines
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.’’