By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has lashed out at the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar, saying his attack on the presidential directive to security operatives on tackling ballot box snatching during this weekend’s polls akins to seeking protection for thugs and setting the country on fire.
Oshiomhole spoke Tuesday night with journalists at his private office on Aso Drive, Abuja.
“There is no responsible candidate down to the House of Assembly who will find fault in any pronouncement that seeks to discourage thuggery in the coming elections. So, for a man who is aspiring to preside over a country like Nigeria to seek protection for thuggery, to seek cover for thuggery, even as he has already said he would grant amnesty to looters, I do not think Nigerians have any basis to doubt that Atiku Abubakar’s mission is to set Nigeria on fire just so that he can become president even if he will preside over a graveyard. Only those who rely on thuggery can find fault with the President’s directive”, he said.
On the allegation by the PDP that the ruling party imported smart card readers from China to be deployed in certain parts of the country, Oshiomhole said; “We are not like stammerers who look for a fight because they cannot win an argument. Assuming, without conceding that it is true, it means Atiku is working hand in hand with the ICT unit in INEC to know the kind of card readers that are deployed to a particular location. INEC being independent as it is, I am not in a position to determine where the card readers would be deployed or where they were imported from”, he said.
In another statement, APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said, “the leaked security report of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP plan to deploy $111milion for vote-buying across the states under the pretence of ‘logistics’ during the General Elections raises new fears ahead of the forthcoming polls”.
He said it is now clear that the PDP has no plans to win the elections through legitimate votes, but through illegally procured votes.
“Again, in the aftermath of the configured card readers recently recovered from PDP agents in some states, the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has gone to town with face-saving conspiracies that the All Progressives Congress APC has imported slow-working card readers from China which will be deployed to the South South and South East which Atiku considers his ‘stronghold’.
Denies planned internet shutdown on election day
“Atiku also alleges a plan to shut down communication on Election Day. How illogical that a party that is in a contest with clear superior numerical support would shutdown communication on Election Day. Will the communication shutdown affect only the PDP while leaving APC supporters and agents? Nigerians can see through the infantile lies.
“Nigerians will recall that the APC had earlier reported the PDP’s plot before last Saturday’s postponed elections. The recent arrest of several armed PDP political thugs and recovery of INEC card readers and arms from PDP agents in some states points directly to the PDP’s plan as revealed by the security report.
“Atiku has called on the president to retract his instruction to security agencies regarding violence, ballot box thieves, and other electoral malpractices. The question is how such instruction disturbs anyone that is truly interested in free, fair and credible elections. We reiterate the resolution of the Monday’s meeting of the APC expanded National Caucus which urged the security agencies to step up their activities by ensuring that all those involved in violence, ballot box snatching, falsification of results, vote-buying and other election illegalities should face the full weight of the law. It is a shame that PDP is kicking against this. We are not surprised because PDP has marshalled plans to get to power by all means possible. The option of one man one vote is not on the PDP’s table.
“Atiku has admitted what we already know that he is not popular by claiming he has two geopolitical zones while the APC has the four other geopolitical zones. On Election Day, Atiku and the PDP should prepare for the shock of their lives. The South South and South East are not oblivious of the unprecedented developmental achievements recorded in the zones under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, compared to the PDP’s wasted years. The good people of the South South, South East and indeed all the geopolitical zones will speak through their legitimate votes, not the procured ballots planned by the PDP.
“The PDP’s illegal plot requires improved surveillance by our security agencies particularly the Department of State Services (DSS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and allied agencies to check illicit financial flows and movement in the leadup to and on Election Day.
“On INEC’s part, following the unfortunate last-minute postponement of the election, the electoral body must realize that it has a lot to prove to the Nigerian electorate that it is still able to conduct credible elections. A first step will be that the electoral body identify and change its officers who have now beyond doubt become partisan and are actively working for partisan interests.
PDP’s NEC meeting, disrespectful
“Finally, PDP Tuesday’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting has achieved only one thing: Atiku and PDP sank into a new low of rudeness and incivility. They showed acute disrespect to the office of the President with the choice of words employed. This is the same office they intend to occupy”, the APC added.