National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, on Monday, in Abuja, said that the party would continue with its nationwide campaign ahead of the rescheduled presidential election billed for Saturday, February 23, 2019.
Oshiomhole said this while interacting with newsmen at the end of the party’s National Cacus meeting which head at its secretariat in the nation’s capital.
In the words of Oshiomhole during the meeting earlier in the day, “We have called this meeting to give our people hope and renew our commitment to democracy and our commitment to free and fair elections. The explanations given by INEC for the postponement of the election was disgusting.
“The way forward is that, we must now go back to the additional cost that it will entail to renew campaigns and again INEC’s own decisions to attempt to amend the law through mere administrative pronouncement namely to the effect that our campaigns are frozen, Mr President, INEC is not in the position to make laws.
“The laws made by our Parliament are superior to the opinions of INEC Chairman (With all due respect to his office). The extant provision of the law is clear. When you postpone elections, it had happened before, the law says you are entitled to renew campaigns up to 24 hours before the date of the elections. It did not say you would stop campaigns on February 15, regardless of when the elections will actually take place.
“When elections stop, it determines by when it is expected to commence. Therefore, as a law-abiding party, we will proceed to energise our members to renew campaigns and to urge them to come out en masse.
“Of course, PDP did professional election rigging. They know that… (I’m sure Amaechi can share this with us. It is a past experience. He confessed like a Catholic). The point I am trying to make is that, you know that when you have a low voter turnout, that is when election is mostly rigged.
“Voters turnout and voter apathy can result to the confusion. If at our level, we are persistently disturbed, what will be the fate of ordinary man? I think we need to remind them across the country that elections have been rescheduled, by telling them to have trust, they should have faith, they should all be determine to vote. The process of doing that will require returning the campaigns between now and Thursday.
“To ask us as a political party not to go out, remember our people might have forgotten, they would have assumed that for sure these people know what they want? And the result could be very very low turnout. That is not good for a party that has huge support base. It can only be good for a party that is not sure of its level of grassroots support.
“So, without consulting INEC, we are proceeding and we are ready to meet them in court because they cannot, by administrative fiat, amend or distort extant provisions in the Electoral Act and those laws are not secret to INEC,” he said.
Speaking further on what the ruling party plans to, Oshiomhole revealed APC would formally write to demand for a meeting with the electoral umpire to know the arrangements for the weekend’s poll.
“Just to say that INEC chairman briefed us on some of the things they need to do day by day until Saturday when elections will take place. My people say if a man or woman has been caught in adultery and he or she says I won’t do it again, it has to wait and see. You can no longer assuming.
“INEC, having violated our confidence, must earn it or re-earn it and sustain it every inch of the way. So, we are going to write INEC to demand a small meeting not the meeting of more than 1000 people in a conference hall, face-to-face, to speak to specific details.
“One, we have been told that they would re-configure card readers and we were told that they were like about 180,000 and there are two issues. Namely: INEC, have you started? When will you finish this configuration? If they are 180,000, it means the extra is only 4,000 since we have 176,000 polling booths.
“Is INEC assuring us that from their own projections and past experience across the country that the failure of card readers is only 1 or 2 per cent? What is the basis for making allowance for only 4,000? Is this based on past experience?
“Why we need concrete answers to all these questions is that, in the absence of incident forms, should there be more failing over an above 4,000, what is INEC’s contingency plans to deal with that? We don’t want staggered elections. We want nationwide elections, same time, same day all over the country. So, INEC needs to brief the basis of this small addition.
“All we have fought for is that, every card reader should have a spare. So, if we have 176,000 polling units, we want to have 176,000 spares. So, whenever one fails, the other one can be used. What they have done creates rooms for suspicion. Many have said they might do it in the areas they feel we are strong because we are responsible for the discretion on where to deploy these devices,” he said.
“From what we have all known, in some states, INEC materials have been distributed. Some people have sighted some of the result sheets. Some have sighted some of the ballot papers before they ordered them to stop. Now my question, having sighted a copy or a sample of the ballot papers and the result sheets, what is INEC doing differently to ensure that those who have already seen those samples will not go to Trans Amadi Industrial layout to print a sample of the one they have seen,” he queries.
“Lastly, the Ibos say that ‘hurry hurry tears trousers’. Now, this hurried efforts INEC has promised to make to ensure that everything is done, are they assuring us that some of the things that happened last Friday have been taken care?
“For example, the voting materials meant for Edo State were delivered to Enugu State. The one meant for Delta State, were delivered to Edo State. This is not a weather issue, it is not. I don’t know how to explain that. This mix up is not about not being able to lift materials. It is about lifting materials to wrong areas.
“Having been victims of election rigging, we know that one of the things INEC had done before was to deliberately carry one voter register from one LG to another LG. By the time you track it, you would have lost precious time to election. These are several questions begging for answers,” he said.
Making special appeal to President Buhari to insist on the redeployment of electoral officials, he said: “Mr President, I also believe that because you are the Head of State, you are the President, you have dual responsibilities.”
“One is to ensure that, any institution of State that has mediated, anybody that is involved in that act, particularly actions that will clearly weaken the fabric of our democracy, Mr President, you have a duty to trigger the process that will compel everyone involved in all of these to account, we cannot be helpless because at the end of the day, all fingers will point at you even as innocent as you are.
“I want us to also use today to review what has happened in various States. But on my part, when the going gets tough, that is when the tough gets going. I am much more determined that in our message to the Nigerian people, we must revive it and insist that these elections are conducted properly.
“Those INEC RECs that have been compromised, we will press on INEC’s leadership that they do not have a right to impose a corrupt or compromised RECs or EOs on us. When sufficient doubts have been raised on the characters, the integrity of a referee, no responsible match authority will impose that referees on the players. We don’t care where anybody is posted to because INEC has a discretion to move people around,” he said.