US CONGRESS MAN SPEAKS AFTER ELECTION POSTPONEMENT, SENDS MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT BUHARI

February 19, 2019
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A United States congressman, Chris Smith has blamed President Muhammadu Buhari and his allies for the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had postponed the elections scheduled for February 16 to 23.

The US congressman however said the president must take responsibility for the postponement.

He said: “Responsibility for the delay of Nigeria’s presidential election lays squarely with President Muhammadu Buhari and those close to him.

Actions in advance of the election — including removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen and arson attacks on Independent National Electoral Commission offices in opposition strongholds — are undermining confidence that this election and subsequent gubernatorial elections will be free and fair.

At a minimum, the presidential election must meet the 2015 standard, which saw a peaceful transfer of power and a statement by the then-sitting president that all bloodshed must be avoided.

Smith also called upon the Trump Administration and the State Department to focus greater attention upon Nigeria.

He said: “In addition to being sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria is its biggest economy, and what happens in Nigeria has ramifications beyond its borders.

Given the magnitude of global problems Secretary Pompeo must contend with, he should consider appointing a Special Envoy for Nigeria vested with full authority.

The State Department must use all tools at its disposal, including visa denial and sanctioning authority, to hold accountable those who undermine democracy and foment sectarian and ethnic violence.”

Meanwhile, the deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena has accused the Bayelsa state government of stockpiling arms in different local governments of the state ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Nabena’s allegation was contained in a statement sent to Continentour.com.ng on Tuesday, February 19. According to the APC chieftain, the alleged arms buildup could be traced particularly in Brass, Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw areas of the state.

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