President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are favorites to win the February 16, 2019, presidential polls, but both have recently dodged questions on how they would handle defeat.
While speaking during a town hall meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, President Buhari said defeat “sounds like if impossible”.
When asked if he would concede defeat if he loses the election, the president was evasive and unwilling to address the possibility of it because of the support he believes he enjoys among Nigerian voters. He said:
“That wouldn’t be the first time I lose election. I tried in 2003, and I was in court for 30 months; 2007, I was in court for 18 months; 2011, I was in court for eight months. And I went up to the Supreme Court.
“The third time, I said, ‘God dey,’ and the fourth time, God and technology came in, the PVC and card readers, you know, the opposition took it for granted.”
In a BBC interview that was published on Thursday, January 17, Atiku Abubakar also failed to directly answer a question about conceding defeat if he loses, especially since he’s expressed worry over the fair conduct of the election. He said:
“The problem is that we are working hard, and that’s why I appeal to the international community also to work together with us to make sure the elections are not only seen to be free, fair and credible, but that they actually are.”
The opposition PDP has relentlessly expressed fears that the president plans to hold on to power even if he loses the February 16 election.