Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has told the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidates contesting in rerun elections to work hard to gain votes and not expect him to manipulate in their favour.
The President said this on Sunday through Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media.
The president cautioned against hate spewing, incitement to violence and polarising statements by some political leaders as some states prepare for supplementary elections fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conclude elections declared inconclusive.
According to Buhari, some past Nigerian presidents were known to interfere in inconclusive elections, adding that this may have accounted for “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 noted that the President swore to defend the Constitution and would not veer off from that.
Shehu said the Constitution of Nigeria gives the president no such powers to interfere in any election matter, stressing that it was unfair and ridiculous to criticise Buhari for not going against the constitution.
He said: “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 has 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."