…Insists on going to court
…Says no peace without justice
By Dirisu Yakubu
Despite holding a meeting with the National Peace Committee in a bid to douse tension occasioned by the outcome of last Saturday’s Presidential election, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday said there was no deal with the committee, that would prevent it from going to court.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus said the committee chaired by General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd) did not expect the PDP to give conditions to forgo its pursuit of redress in the court, arguing that in any case, “there can be no peace without justice.”
Describing the exercise as a “body bag elections,” Secondus lamented what he called government’s threat against international observer groups, saying independent monitors bowed to pressure and returned to their countries, careful not to upset the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
“There was no request of any condition. We made it clear (to the committee) that unless the injustices are addressed, there is no room for peace. It is only when you address the injustice that you can now sit down for peace.
“We will go to court. Nobody will stop us from going to court and bring all of the facts both the international observers and some people have not seen. We will unearth them at the courts and I believe that justice will be done at the courts.
“Because if we continue to suppress injustice and go sentimental, the country will continue to pile on gun powder that will explode one day.
“So much injustice has been done in this country and if we allow it and it continues to pile, nobody knows what will happen,” Secondus said.
According to the PDP chair, “When All Progressives Congress, APC, leaders were threatening foreign election monitors with returning to their country on body bags we didn’t know that they had designed the same thing for Nigerians,” he said, even as he decried the loss of lives on election day.
“As at the last count, over 50 Nigerians have lost their lives last Saturday most of them from the South-South region where a division of the army with their commander was turned on the people on the election day.
“You can see that the nation has been in a sorrow mood for our democracy that was dragged down last Saturday, four years after the world stood up for Nigeria for not only conducting a flawless election but for going ahead in addition to have a seamless transition to an opposition party, but we all are seeing the direct beneficiary of that rare democratic disposition, General Muhammadu Buhari using the military to rob Nigerians of their right to choose leaders of their choice.”
Secondus insisted the polls could have held peacefully without the deployment of the military noting that “The clear effect of militarizing the election particularly in the South-South and South-East in addition to the killing of innocent electorates was the obvious suppression of voters who were either scared out or chased away.”
Lamenting what he termed low voter turnout, Secondus said even the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s “own record of voter turnout in last Saturday’s election fell to about 36 per cent from the 44 per cent it was in 2015.
“That is why you hear ridiculously that war-torn Borno and Yobe states recorded higher percentage in voter turnout than some states in the South-South geo-political zone.
“Shamelessly, they have again started mobilizing to use the same military to forcefully take over for APC two PDP states in the South-South and one state in the South- East. Credible intelligence available to the party showed that the ruling party’s main link in INEC met with party’s leadership as well as the military to review the planned strategy to take over the states of Kano, Borno, Yobe and Zamfara.
“While the military was suppressing voters in PDP stronghold in the South, different abracadabra was going on in some Northern states particularly in Kano, Yobe, Borno and Zamfara states where numbers refuse to add up. In Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states, a confirmed report shows that there was non-compliance in the use of smart card reader as approved by INEC rules,” he added.
He also claimed that government was bent on distracting the party from its planned pursuit of justice, adding that as a result, the Buhari-led government “has decided to intensify their intimidation and strangulation of the opposition.
He continued: “Some prominent members of the opposition have been put on surveillance and their names listed to be stopped from travelling out of the country.
“You can all see that we have arrived at the place we never bargained for- full-blown dictatorship and this is where I urge you, members of the press, to stand up as you have always done against this emerging despotism in our land before we become a laughing stock in the global democracy family again.
He urged military personnel deployed for election duty to remain professional, stressing that they were not at war with any section of the country.