President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) owed Nigerians detailed explanation for its decision to delay the general elections.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said the president stated this at the All Progressives Congress (APC) emergency caucus meeting at the party secretariat, Abuja.
President Buhari said: ‘‘Definitely, the reasons such incompetence manifested have to be explained to the nation. After the elections, we have to know exactly what happened and who is responsible.
‘‘The constitution and the laws protect INEC but they must not take us for granted. If for example, the National Assembly refused to approve what INEC wanted, then INEC would have more than enough reasons why they couldn’t perform.
‘‘If the time for the constitutional elections, four years after was not obeyed by the government and the system, INEC will have a case. But we do not understand why this inefficiency and we have to move into details after the election to find out who’s responsible.’’
While noting that the electoral commission had all the time and resources it needed to conduct the polls, the president said there was no justification ‘‘to wait for only six hours to postpone the votes’’, in the early hours of Feb. 16.
He also used the occasion to warn all political actors to ensure an environment free from intimidation and violence for all eligible citizens to peacefully cast their ballot on the Election Day.
The President announced that he has directed security agencies to contain any acts of lawlessness before, during and after the elections.
‘‘We are not going to be blamed of trying to rig the elections. I want Nigerians to be respected. Let them vote whoever they want across the parties. I am not afraid, I have gone to all 36 states and Abuja and I think I have enough support across the country,’’ he said.
President Buhari urged all APC supporters to vote peacefully in the upcoming elections.
‘‘We have so much to do and I think we should again go back to our loyal, committed people in all constituencies. If anything happens we have nobody to blame.
‘‘We have to tell our constituencies that they have to be patient and act in a very responsible way by going peacefully to vote again, and they should depend on party representatives at each of the 176,000 polling units,’’ he said. (NAN)