…Faults APC’s allegations of conniving with forces to disrupt polls
By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday dismissed President Muhammadu Buhari’s endorsement by 71 retired Generals, saying given the level of insecurity in the country since the President took over in 2015, no general worthy of his rank would endorse his quest for fresh four year tenure.
The party stated this yesterday while addressing newsmen at the PDP Presidential Campaign headquarters, Maitama, Abuja. Questioning the rationale for the endorsement, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan said it was unfortunate that the said Generals are not speaking up while officers and men of sundry military agencies are being killed by bandits and insurgents in some parts of the country.
“We consider this endorsement as names dropping, just to create an aura that does not exist around President Buhari. Young officers are being killed and no General has spoken on how to curb the insurgency and banditry. Is it now that Nigerians are tired of the governance style of President Buhari that Generals will be endorsing him? When bandits are taking over Zamfara and even Katsina the home state of Buhari? The PDP does not believe any General worth his salt will do that,” he said.
On allegations by Information Minister Lai Mohammed that the PDP was conniving with hostile international security forces to undermine the current administration, the PDP publicity scribe enjoined Nigerians not to take the Minister serious, adding that each time he speaks, he exposes the plot of his own party invariably.
“Each time Lai Mohammed speaks, he comes out to make allegations that in a way reveals the plan they are making.
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“Not long ago, he accused the opposition of plot to bring people from Niger Republic to disrupt elections but at the end, who brought people from Niger Republic? It was President Buhari. If he claimed that the opposition is planning to scuttle the polls; like President Buhari, we are not aware,” he added.
He also accused governors elected on the platform of the APC of submitting names to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for engagement as ad-hoc staff during the polls.
“The PDP alerts Nigerians that INEC has been taking directives from the Presidency and the APC on how to manipulate our electoral process at various levels.
“To this end, INEC has collected a list of people that will serve as electoral officials, including ad-hoc staff and returning officers at the polling units, from APC state governors and candidates, across the federation, on the directives of the Buhari Presidency.
“The PDP is already privy to how the lists were populated with APC members and agents of the APC candidates, after clearance by the APC leaders in various states.
“The PDP vehemently rejects this wicked plot by the Presidency, which is tailored to ensure institutional manipulation of the electoral process, including accreditation, voting and collation of results at the polling units, which is the base of the elections.
“The PDP holds that by following the directive of the APC in such dubious rigging scheme, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, has violated section 29 (1) of the Electoral Act (as amended) and shows that he is in clear deficit of the required political will to conduct a credible, free and fair election.
“This is especially in the light of the boasting by agents of the Presidency and the APC to give the INEC Chairman what they describe as the “Onnoghen treatment”, and frame him, if he fails to comply with their rigging plans,” he stressed.
Accordingly, the PDP asked INEC to within the next 48 hours, “publish the list of all officials and ad-hoc staff that will play any form of role in the election at all levels for verification by stakeholders, noting that “Any delay or refusal by INEC to publish the list with 48 hours would be a clear acceptance that it has been compromised by the APC and this could lead to a very serious crisis with very dire consequences as the PDP will never allow anybody to rig it out in this election.”
While warning the the INEC boss to desist from soiling his name, the party urged him to “note that the fate of our nation lies in his hands. It is left to him to decide whether he would end as a national hero or as a villain.
“Furthermore, the PDP calls on the international community to place the INEC Chairman, Directors and Commissioners in INEC responsible for this election on their watch list and proceed to impose travel ban on them as well as hold them directly responsible should there be any form of rigging in the February 16, 2019 Presidential elections.”