The Presidency on Sunday told the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates in states where supplementary elections would hold on Saturday that President Muhammadu Buhari would not compromise his integrity to manipulate the Independent National Electoral Commission in their favour.
The presidency made this clear in a statement on Sunday by Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, warning political leaders making inflammatory statements capable of inciting violence ahead of Saturday’s supplementary elections to desist from such immediately.
Mr. Shehu said some APC leaders expected that Buhari would abuse his office by usurping the powers of INEC to turn the table in their favour.
He however said his boss will do no such thing, advising party leaders in the six states to work hard to earn the people’s votes on Saturday.
INEC is fully in charge of electoral matters in the country, not President Buhari, who would neither interfere with the process nor change results in favour of the ruling APC, he stated.
The statement read in part, “The Presidency also rejects 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.
“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 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 and will be 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,” the Presidency added.