President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed grave disappointment in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for postponing the presidential and National Assembly elections at the last minute.
Buhari in a series of tweets on his twitter handle @MBuhari said that it was so disappointing that after promising day after day that it was ready for the election, the commission had to call it off at the last minute.
Buhari decried that many Nigerians had traveled to various locations across Nigeria to exercise their franchise while election observers were already on ground, only for the commission to postpone the polls.
“I am deeply disappointed that despite the long notice given and our preparations both locally and internationally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the Presidential and National Assembly elections within hours of its commencement.
“Many Nigerians have traveled to various locations to exercise their right to vote, and international observers are gathered.
“INEC themselves have given assurances, day after day and almost hour after hour that they are in complete readiness for the elections. We and all our citizens believed them.
“This administration has ensured that we do not interfere in any way with the work of INEC except to ensure that all funds were released to the commission,” he said.
He cautioned INEC to ensure that all the lapses that led to the postponement were addressed before the new date so that a free, fair and credible election would be conducted.
“We now urge INEC to ensure not only that materials already distributed are safe and do not get into wrong hands, but that everything is done to avoid the lapses that resulted in this unfortunate postponement, and ensure a free and fair election on the rescheduled dates.
“While I reaffirm my strong commitment to the independence, neutrality of the electoral umpire & the sanctity of the electoral process & ballot, I urge all political stakeholders & Nigerians to continue to rally round INEC at this trying national moment in our democratic journey.
“I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to refrain from all civil disorder and remain peaceful, patriotic and united to ensure that no force or conspiracy derail our democratic development.
“I have decided to move back to Abuja to ensure that the 14.00 hrs meeting called by INEC with all stakeholders is successful,” he said.
INEC in a last minute meeting, decided to shift Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections till next week 23 February.
The Governorship and state assembly elections will take place on 9 March, instead of 2 March as initially scheduled.