By Danladi Alhassan
The Presidency has assured that President Muhammadu Buhari would not intervene in the process of the supplementary gubernatorial elections being conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in some states of the federation on March 23.
The Presidency, also in a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, cautioned against what it described as “a lot of the hate spewing, incitement to violence and the polarizing statements by so-called political leaders.” It said it rejected unfair and ridiculous criticisms of President Muhammadu 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.
The statement stated that past Presidents of Nigeria were known to interfere in inconclusive elections, and that it was the reason why party members appear to be upset that the same thing was not happening again in the present situation in the country.
“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,” the statement said.
Shehu said 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,” he said.