Nigeria’s electoral commission has called on politicians to ‘moderate their rhetoric’ ahead of Saturday’s delayed presidential election.
The chairperson of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu called for calm as both president Muhammadu Buhari and the opposition’s Atiku Abubakar have become more combative in their tone following the postponement of the election.
“Please speak in a manner that does not contribute to heating the polity and the political atmosphere,” Yakubu said.Presidential and parliamentary elections were called off just hours before polling on Saturday, with logistical difficulties blamed for the distribution of materials.
On Monday, during a meeting with the National Caucus of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Buhari warned that the security agencies were ready to neutralise anyone who tampered with electoral processes.
“I really gave the military and police order to be ruthless… Anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch ballot boxes or disturbs the voting system, will do so at the expense of his own life,’‘ Buhari said.
Violent ballot-snatching has been a feature of elections in Africa’s most populous nation and the comments drew the backing of APC supporters.