* Writes UN, EU, monitors over ‘flawed polls’
By Jide Ajani, Deputy Editor and Ben Agande, Abuja
Reminiscent of a classical no retreat, no surrender scenario, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, has formally written to the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) through their respective election monitoring groups, condemning the conduct and outcome of the just concluded 2011 general elections in the country.
In addition, the CPC, which fielded Major-General Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election but which President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won, is considering sending a delegation to the UN Headquarters to press its case.
The party is also considering dispatching a delegation to meet with the United States President Barack Obama.
What CPC plans to do, Sunday Vanguard has been able to discover, is to further prove its point that the elections of April were not free, fair nor credible.
To this end, the Conference of Nigeria’s Political Parties, CNPP, is being co-opted into the effort.
And barring any last-minute change of plan, the CPC and the CNPP have both agreed to address a world press conference on the same day as the handover day of May 29, thereby creating a distraction which, the CPC claims, is legitimate to push its case.
World Press Conference
Sunday Vanguard reliably gathered that at a meeting on Monday, May 16, 2011, between 3 p.m. and 4:17 p.m., held at the national secretariat of the party – and which had the leadership of the CNPP in attendance – some revelations emerged.
The meeting was attended by four national chairmen of political associations (parties), one administrative secretary, three national secretaries, one publicity secretary and a national leader of a political party.
The National Secretary of the CPC, Alhaji Buba Galadinma, told the gathering that “the CNPP should address a world press conference, to intimate the general public with all the rigging methods and strategies devised by the PDP. He noted that, right now, the fight is being spearheaded by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) at the national level, while also canvassing that they should embark on a semblance of what the CNPP carried out against former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003.
“He maintained that the just concluded general elections were the worst when compared to those previously conducted in 2003 and 2007. He told the participants that against this backdrop, the CPC has formally forwarded a letter to the United Nations Elections Observation Mission (UNEOM), as well as to the European Union (EU) delegation on election to Nigeria.
“He stated that in the letter, the CPC pointed out that it is considering sending a delegation to the UN and to President Barack Obama of the United States of America (USA) to inform them not to give any form of legitimacy to Mr. President, as, according to him, the 2011 presidential election was far from being free, fair or credible”.
One of the participants at the meeting added his voice to Galadima’s proposition but made it clear that Nigerians needed to take their destiny in their own hands.
“The international communities cannot do much in this regard”, the speaker reportedly said, “if Nigerians themselves cannot on their own come out to openly condemn the election”. He consequently suggested that they should mobilize their youths to carry out peaceful nation-wide protests rejecting the 2011 presidential election.
May 29 plan
And whereas the CNPP was not too keen on the issue of nationwide protest which the CPC favoured, the CPC suggested that they “can equally address a world press conference on 29th May, 2011, while the celebration of the inauguration event would be going on so that media practitioners would have something to report on”.
However, Sunday Vanguard was made to understand that there may have been contact between the CPC and some youth groups in the North.
It was disclosed that “some CPC members have allegedly been contacted by some northern youths for sponsorship to carry out anti-government protests in parts of the North and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)”. The CPC reportedly informed the youths that “the party has no such money, but that the youths can nonetheless go ahead with the intended action, promising to assist them (the youths) with anything it can afford”. A source close to the meeting said the party believes that the Federal Government is looking for one way or the other to ‘hang’ its members, and that “because of this, the party has told the youths that it does not want any link whatsoever with them”.
As part of the planned world press conference, civil society organizations are being shopped for with a view to carrying them along.
Meanwhile, a group under the name, Arewa Youths Awareness Forum (AYAF), has alleged fresh mobilisation by some aggrieved politicians to organise protests in some states of the federation and has called on security agents to deal with the situation immediately.
In a statement in Abuja, the group warned that if government fails to stop political elements whose sole aim is to precipitate crisis that would overshadow the May 29 inauguration ceremony in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and some northern states, a repeat of the post-election violence might be repeated.
“The political elements have little support base and even though they want to project themselves as an opposition force, they are not involving parties like the Action Congress of Nigeria in their unholy plans for the North and Nigeria. They met on May 16 to finalize arrangements and one of their leaders from Kaduna went as far as describing a northern youth leader who was governorship aspirant as a threat,” it stated.