The Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, had called on Nigerians to maintain peace, following the rescheduled date of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Any act of violence can only complicate the security challenges in the country and provide further justification to those who would want to exploit every situation to frustrate the democratic process,” Buhari said.
Buhari perceived the election postponement to be as a result of pressure from the opposition, saying; “it is important to note that although INEC acted within its constitutional powers, it is clear that it has been boxed into a situation where it had to bow to pressure”.
He also said that the presidential and state level elections on March 28 and April 11 must now be sacrosanct and that the party would not tolerate any further interference in the vote.
“What they (security forces) cannot do in 6 years, they cannot do in 6 weeks,” he emphasised.
Foreign nations are observing proceedings in Nigeria and have raised concerns over possibilities of violence, but the presidential candidates of different political parties have signed a peace accord to be committed to non-violence before, during and after the elections.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington was deeply disappointed by the election postponement and criticised “political interference” in the election process. Britain also voiced concerns about the election postponement.
The electoral commission said the decision was taken after wide-reaching consultations, citing the advice of security operatives for a shift in the election date to put adequate security in place in the north-east before the elections.
Members Boko Haram terrorist group have taken over territories in the north-east in an attempt to establish an Islamic state. Nigeria’s army has been restive, with Chad now sending in troops to assist while Cameroon has been pushing back incursions into its territory.
The poll poll would place incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, of the Peoples Democratic Party against former military ruler Buhari of the (APC) in what is likely to be the most hotly contested election since the end of military rule in 1999.
Earlier on Sunday, President Goodluck Jonathan said he was committed to May 29 as the terminal date of his first term in office and also called for calm.