Nigeria’s two main political parties have vowed to proceed with their campaigns despite a directive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Top officials of the governing All Progressive Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said this in separate interviews with the BBC Hausa Service.
INEC announced the postponement of Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections to next week,
Following the postponement, there had been questions and concerns on campaigns, with many wondering if it would continue or not.
Legally, campaigns are to be wrapped up 24 hours to the elections. Hence, many had argued that since the election date was rescheduled, campaigns should also continue till 24 hours to the new date.
However, INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, at a press conference on Saturday said campaigns remain closed.
APC, PDP vow to continue
While speaking on INEC’s announcement, the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, said it is impossible for his party to stop campaigns a week before the election.
He said election guidelines clearly state that all campaigns be suspended 24 hours to an election. He said everyone is aware of the law, hence, his party will continue campaigning on Sunday.
“INEC cannot go contrary to what the law says. Everyone knows that campaigns can only be suspended 24 hours to an election, I will continue with campaigns on Sunday because if we don’t campaign, people will not come out and vote.
“We will tell the people what happened has happened. Let them come out and vote for the president. For one week, if we didn’t talk people will forget, we will campaign,” the party chairman said.
In his reaction, a campaign director of the Atiku Abubakar campaign organisation, Rabiu Kwankwaso, said since the election has been postponed, parties and candidates should be allowed to continue with campaigns.
He advised INEC to ensure the elections are not postponed again.
“All the stakeholders including INEC and the international observers are not happy with the postponement, for whatever reason they have postponed the election, and I hope that they will not do that again,” Mr Kwankwaso said.
“From now to one week, there is no reason we will suspend the campaign because the law clearly states that campaigns should be suspended 24 hours to an election.
“Nobody ordered them to postpone the election. Now that they postponed the election, we will have the chance to go and campaign,” the Kano PDP senator said.