President Muhammadu Buhari has told members of his party, All Progressives Congress, that he would not intervene in the upcoming rerun elections to favour them.
So also did the President in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, on Sunday said he was not going to bring any pressure to bear on the Independent National Electoral Commission regarding the outcome of the elections.
The statement cautioned against a lot of the hate spewing, incitement to violence and polarizing statements by “so-called political leaders” as some states brace up for supplementary elections on March 23.
The Presidency also rejected what it termed the unfair and ridiculous criticisms of President Buhari’s “apparent disinterest in the upcoming elections in some states by party members who wrongfully assume that the President will abuse power by changing results to favour them”.
Shehu added in the statement: “Past Presidents of Nigeria were known to interfere in inconclusive elections, and that is why party members appear to be upset that the same thing is not happening now, but President Buhari is a different kind of leader. He swore to defend the constitution and will not veer off from that.
“The constitution of Nigeria gives the President no such powers. It is unfair and ridiculous to criticise President Buhari for not going against the constitution.
“Party members in states where there will be supplementary elections then need to be reminded that they need to work hard to earn their people’s votes, rather than expect President Buhari to manipulate INEC in their favour.
“Interestingly, while members of the ruling APC party were criticising the President for not interfering on their behalf, members of the opposition were condemning the President based on their assumptions that he would definitely interfere, as many in the opposition did while in power.
“Under President Buhari, INEC had been and will be completely independent throughout the elections, free from any interference.
“President Buhari is a man of conviction, and the manipulation of election results goes against everything he stands for INEC is completely in charge.”