…Says President’s death threat, call to extra- judicial killings
…Denies PDP’s prior knowledge of plans to shift polls
By Dirisu Yakubu
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has accused the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress, APC, of plotting to embarrass the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in a bid to remove its chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu from office.
He also described comments credited to President Muhammadu Buhari at the national caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Monday warning that intending ballot boxes snatchers would be risking their lives, as a call to jungle justice, saying the nation’s extant laws are enough to deal with electoral offenders.
Addressing a press conference at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential Campaign Office, Maitama, Abuja yesterday, Hon. Dogara condemned President Buhari and APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s allegations accusing the PDP of having prior information of plans to shift the polls last week.
“We know they are doing everything humanly possible to discredit INEC, remove the chairman and stall the process conscious of the fact that they cannot win this election.
“From our position, we strongly believe that the deliberate delivery of election materials to the wrong electoral centers, cancellation of flights, and other actions that undermined the logistics arrangement of INEC were deliberately done to sabotage and manipulate the process.
“We are also very familiar with the pressure brought on INEC by top government officials and APC leaders to go ahead with the elections despite not being adequately prepared for the election. We are also aware the APC wanted the INEC chairman to conduct elections in some states and postpone in other states so as to have staggered elections. It should also be noted that the areas that would have been affected by inadequate delivery of materials were PDP strongholds,” he said.
Quoting President Buhari as saying that “Anybody who decides to snatch boxes or lead thugs to disturb the election, may be that would be the last unlawful action you would take. I have given the military and police the order to be ruthless. I am going to warn anybody who thinks he would lead a body of thugs in his locality to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system; he would do it at the expense of his/her own life,” Dogara urged Nigerians not to be deterred in their quest to elect a new government next week.
He said, “we categorically deny these false claims and unnecessary blackmail and regard the President’s statement as a call for extra-judicial killings considering the fact that there are adequate provisions in our laws to address electoral offenses.
“These statements clearly indicate that our democracy has become the victim of a full blown dictatorship, when one considers that a democratically elected President would give a directive that is in clear violation of the laws of the land which by his oath of office he is to defend and protect.
“In view of this statement by the President, it is obvious that the military has been given a central role and co-opted into the conduct of the election despite the fact that they have no constitutional role in our electoral process.”
He called on Nigerians not to forget that “our party chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, was the first to call for an inquiry into why the elections were postponed last Saturday. In reality, we support a genuine and transparent probe into why the Presidential and National Assembly elections could not hold. We also hope that the President’s inflammatory statement is not a threat aimed at intimidating the electoral commission.
Dogara also had some words for the APC chairman, whom he tasked to reflect on his allegation against the PDP.
“We also strongly condemn Mr. Oshiomole’s false, mischievous and inflammatory claims against our party, when he said INEC colluded with PDP to abort last week’s elections. This is a very surprising statement considering the fact that the federal government controls every institution and agency involved in the electoral process, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigerian Airforce, Aviation authorities amongst others.
“It is important to note that the APC in its usual manipulative style is now shifting the blame on INEC leadership while absolving itself and the other institutions of government under its control of any blame. That is the common strategy that super villains always employ.
Dogara who is a technical adviser to the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar expressed worry that a sitting government is playing the victim card; a development he described as a novelty in the nation’s political history.
“This is the first time that we have witnessed a ruling party play victim,” he continued, stressing that it is “a clear indication that they have lost the plot. Evidently, their recent actions and statements clearly show they are panicking and desperate to cling onto power, even when the people have rejected them.”