.As Mantu decries slow pace of democratic consolidation
By Dirisu Yakubu
As Nigerians look forward to the Presidential election slated for Saturday 6th February 2019, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has emphasised the need for voters to defend their votes in the interest of democracy in the country.
This is even as the party for the umpteenth time, accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of working hand-in-glove with the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to rig the polls in favour of President Muhmmadu Buhari.
Addressing newsman at a press conference at the PDP Presidential Campaign headquarters, Abuja yesterday, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said PDP members and supporters nationwide would vote and monitor the voting process to ensure their votes count at the end of the day.
He said: “The PDP charges all its members and supporters, in their millions, to politically occupy and become extra vigilant by closely monitoring all electoral activities around their polling centers
“Our members and supporters are hereby directed to get prepared to arrive at their polling centers very early on the day of election; monitor the activities of electoral officers, note all strange faces and resist any attempt by any alien or unregistered person to vote.
“Our members and supporters are further directed to remain at the polling centres after casting their votes, monitor the collation of result, use all means available to defend all our votes to the last and ensure that no result is altered.”
According to the publicity scribe, not even the presence of security agents at polling units nationwide will deter the party from going the whole hog to ensure the electoral process is not manipulated.
He added: “The PDP has resolved therefore to unbridle, in full measure, all defence machinery legitimately available to us, including our numerical strength, in marching with millions of Nigerians across our nation to defend our votes, with the stiffest resistance, ever, against any infraction by the APC and the Buhari Presidency.
“In this determination, the PDP is ready to confront the Buhari-controlled security forces and APC thugs, head to head, at all levels. For this, we charge our members and supporters to use every means available to them legitimately in a democracy to defend themselves and resist all acts of intimidation by the APC.”
Meanwhile, former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu has lamented the slow pace of democratic growth in the country, saying despite the almost two decades of non-interrupted democracy, the basics tenets were yet to be learnt.
Mantu who spoke at the launch of a book titled, “The Legacy of Atiku Abubakar on Nation- Building” written by Chukwudi Omordi Eke in Abuja on Sunday also expressed worry at the level of preparation by INEC.
He said, “For a long time now, we have had an uninterrupted democratic rule from 1999 to 2019, that’s 20 good years. One would have expected that democratic culture and practice would have been deepened by now and that the way we do things would have been the way it is being done in advanced countries.
“But unfortunately, I’m sad to say that we have not captured the basic principles of democratic practice. In other words, internal party democracy is the beginning of getting things right. If party officials are elected in a free, fair, transparent congresses and conventions, the likelihood of such people emerging through such process to govern the party with fair of God and transparently will also be expected.
“But when party chieftains emerge through crooked ways, through dubious manipulations; they are not likely to rule the party with transparency. That is one of the things that as a politician, I’m not happy about.”
On INEC, he said: “Every Nigerian citizen should be worried about things that are happening unlawfully. Any bad thing that is bad should be condemned by everybody. It doesn’t after which party you belong to.
Author of the book, Chukwudi Eke said he was inspired to put pen to paper because “Atiku Abubakar is an exemplary leader. What really inspired me, most of all is his capacity to create jobs. In the course of my research, I found many things interesting about this great leader. He is a great leader and I found out that at the age of 15, he was not only able to create job for himself, he created jobs for others.”
The event was attended by party faithful drawn from different parts of the country.