*Says president’s killing order to military over ballot box snatching unpresidential
By Joseph Erunke
AS reactions continue to trail President Muhammadu Buhari’s reported order to security agents to kill ballot box snatchers in the coming general election, constitutional lawyer and rights activist, Chief Mike Ozhekome, SAN, has said the president, by his action, was usurping the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the Police.
Ozhekome also said Buhari’s statement was not “only outrageously unpresidential, but it shows his extreme desperation and panicky mindset.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, reacting to the president’s statement, noted that the” president’s own party,the APCt has so far been involved,to the knowledge of the whole world,in bizarre acts of electoral malpractices during their primaries,leading to an implosively divided party of disparate and inchoate tendencies.”
“A statement has been credited to President Muhammadu Buhari in which he is quoted to have urged the military at a melting of the APC leadership,”snatch a ballot box at the expense of your life”.
“The president was usurping the powers of INEC and the Police,in his never fading military mindset to do utter this most inflammatory and unconstitutional statement,”he noted.
Dwelling further on the issue, the legal icon said:””This statement,to say the least,is not only outrageously unpresidential,but it shows his extreme desperation and panicky mindset.For the records,it is the president’s own APC party that has so far been involved,to the knowledge of the whole world,in bizarre acts of electoral malpractices during their primaries,leading to an implosive divided party of disparate and inchoate tendencies.”
The statement read further:”APC’s leading lights have so far preached terror, “body bags”,mayhem,strife,stoned their president and leaders,booed others,killed some in cold bloodshed,denied themselves tickets,and generally engaged in acts of gansterism,hooliganism and shameless “agberoism”,quite unbecoming of a ruling party.
“Presidents don’t preach violence,nor engage in scare mongering,as Buhari is currently doing at every turn and opportunity.Presidents are known to be extremely cautious and restrained,even when others do not.
“This is because a president is supposed to approximate the highest ideals,morals and nobility of the national psyche,ethos and consciousness.
“PMB still doesn’t appear to realise that he is no longer in opposition as he was between 2003 and 2015.
“He readily forgets,in his brazen desperation to cling on to power at all costs,that he is now the president of the largest black democracy on earth,made up of about 200 million people. Buhari must be told in clear and unmistakable terms that this is not 2015 when he got away with preaching bloodshed of “bamboons being soaked in their own blood”,an act that made gentleman Goodluck Jonathan voluntarily abdicate power as president on the mantra of “my ambition is not worth the drop of any Nigerian’s blood”.The statement is grossly reckless,incendiary,provocative,bellicose,belligerent and wholly condemnable.
“He even literally read the riot act to INEC chairman and staff,threatening them with fire and brimstone,if they do not do his bidding.
“This is to strike fear in them,as he has done to the judiciary,NASS,the press and voices of the opposition and critics.For the avlidsnce of doubt,the Electoral Act has already taken care of such matters as he appeared suddenly to be aware of.Section 129(4) of the Act 24 years inprisonment for any one who snatches ballot boxes at an election.Section 131 of the Electoral Act on the other hand prescribes N1 million fine or 3 years imprisonment for anyone who directly or indirectly inflicts injury on others,or causes harm,violence,or uses duress and undue influence for the purpose of winning an election.
“The law is quite clear.It never prescribes the death penalty as Buhari wants to force in.Recall how he had retroactively got executed,Ojuolape,Ogedengbe and Owoh,for drug peddling in his first military junta.He made them pay the supreme price inspite of national and international uproar and condemnation for an offence that did not carry tyr death penalty when it was committed. For God’s sake,President Buhari is forcing us back to Egypt which we had happily left 35 years ago.
“The palpable frustration now being publicly displayed in a most undisguised and unveneered manner supports my hypothesis in an earlier writeup that the undue pressure mounted on INEC chairman to go ahead and hold staggered elections appeared to have backfired.Prof Mahmud is said to have bluntly refused.
“The presidency was said to have hoped to watch Atiku Abubakar’s votes and cancel the humongous difference by deploying full scorching military might to the few states where elections would have been rescheduled,to literally steal the difference as they did in Osun state.
“This Osun formula was busted by INEC,hence the wailing and unrestrained lachrymal effusion we are now seeing.Mr President sir,here is the bad news for you:Nigerians are tired and anxiously waiting to dymistify you and send you on forced return to Daura on the 23rd of February.Your fixation of “I can’t be beaten”,and your obsequious bootlicking chear choristers’ puerile insistence that “no one can defeat Buhari” would be blown into smithereens.
“If you had performed creditably well as your hypocritical propagandists would have you believe,you would not have been running helter-skelter,from pillar to post today,begging Nigerians for votes,amidst too many gaffes and false steps.
“Nigeria is too big for one individual,aided by only 2-3 powerful members of cabal (thank you,Aisha Buhari),to hold down by the jugular in an asphyxiating beer hug. How many prison yards can you build to quarantine off all Nigerians?”