The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is neither an enemy nor an opponent of the party.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting at the Lagos State Secretariat of the party, Tinubu, who is also the co-chairman, President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign organisation, said that the party is not fighting INEC and has accepted the decision of the commission to postpone the general elections. He then told party supporters to see the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as an opponent that must be defeated and not the electoral commission.
His statement was a sharp departure from the stance of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who has consistently accused the electoral commission of colluding with the PDP against the ruling party.
Tinubu said: “The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, is like the pilot of a plane that controls the aircraft even when there is turbulence. There is no leadership without challenges. We are still a growing democracy and we will overcome. Like an aircraft, INEC will land safely and take us into the election. INEC is not our opponent; we are not fighting against them. It is the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that we are fighting against. They are our opponents. PDP does not have our strength in the South West, North West and Middle Belt. As far as we are concerned, the PDP is already dead and buried. We have accepted the postponement of the election and we have accepted INEC’s accountability.
“When we had the explosion at Ikeja cantonment, it was an extremely difficult time for me as governor because many people lost their lives. But we responded in a very caring way and we showed compassion and empathy to all the victims and their families.
“I am instructing all our members to go round the local governments and get the voters out. If you have any problems at all, go and see the leaders at the local government. We know how many polling booths are at each ward and you must deliver all of them. Let me warn our boys, you heard what President Muhammadu Buhari said will happen to those who snatch ballot boxes. Some of our boys were very rude to the leaders while we were having our leaders’ meeting. They encroached on the corridor of the venue of the meeting and I am warning them not to do that again. Some of our leaders have also reported incidences where some of our boys were disrespectful to them. Any boy who is reported to me for disobedience, we will assume he is a PDP agent and we will treat the person as such.
“We also appeal to our Igbo brothers. Lagos is a state where you conduct your business. Your children are in our schools and we do not discriminate when we want to grant them admission or when we want to pay WAEC fees for them. Now, this is the time that we are saying you should vote for our party. We are in this together. We want to know how many votes you will give APC in Surulere, Amuwo Odofin, Oshodi Isolo, Ajeronmi Ifelodun, Ojo, Alaba and other areas. I am the one who saved Aspamda from demolition and it would not be fair to rub insult on injury. We beg you to deliver your votes to APC, but whatever happens, we are going to bear it.”