President Muhammadu Buhari’s non-partisan stance on the forthcoming supplementary elections in some States is a clear departure from what Nigerians had experienced between 1999 and 2014.
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, that this is unprecedented and yet another reminder of the President’s vow to leave a legacy of a robust and credible electoral process.
“It is unthinkable that a sitting President would issue a public warning to members of his own political party that they should not expect him to arm-twist the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to favour the ruling party in the March 23 supplementary election.
“Ironically, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been vocal in accusing President Buhari of interfering with the Commission’s independence with a view to conferring undue advantage on the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“This is because the political class is used to the PDP-era situation where one man sits in the comfort of the Presidential villa and determines the fate of politicians across the divide with the active support of the INEC leadership.
“Only recently, a former Vice President who flew the party’s flag in the 2019 President election boasted on national television how he used his privileged position to stop the re-election bid of former Anambra State governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju, regardless of the wishes of the electorate!”
The pro-Buhari group also noted that it was embarrassing that any APC leader or member would expect the President to manipulate the process to ensure victory for the ruling party in any of the States where gubernatorial re-run elections are slated to hold on Saturday.
It said: “There is no party member who could have forgotten so soon that President Buhari had in the course of the political campaigns, told Nigerians to vote according to their conscience.
“And his advice to APC leaders in States where supplementary elections are holding to work hard to earn the peoples votes, shows that the President is a statesman who would not trade his integrity for partisan consideration.
“It would be ideal for them to heed the advice and go the extra mile to earn their victory on March 23, rather than expect the President to force INEC to allocate imaginary votes for them”.
BMO also urged members of the opposition to desist from heating up the polity with unsubstantiated allegations against President Buhari in the run-up to the supplementary election.
This, it said, is because the President has no reason to now go back on his pledge that INEC would be completely independent and be free from any interference throughout the elections.