The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alerted the United Nations (UN) and Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee of the threat posed to the February general elections by President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged desperate self-succession bid.
“We want the whole world to know that Nigeria is in a perilous time. President Buhari’s desperation for self-succession has become the major threat to our national unity, stability and peaceful electoral process. Having realized that Nigerians are rallying behind our candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as their next president, the Buhari Presidency is now seeking ways to enmesh the electoral process in crisis,”
the PDP declared at a press conference in Abuja yesterday.
“The Buhari Presidency has been overheating the polity with its unending manipulations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), muzzling of free speech and escalated clampdown on opposition and civil society organizations and we insist that such must stop if we must have a peaceful election.”
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, who addressed the press conference said that the party was of the view “that there is no way peace can be guaranteed without a free and fair election. Already, Nigerians across the board are livid with anger over the foisting of Mrs. Amina Zakari, President Buhari’s relation, to head the collation of presidential election results.
“Buhari’s insistence on having his relation in charge of collation of presidential election results is completely provocative, a direct affront to the sensibilities of Nigerians and express invitation to crisis of epic proportion, which is capable of truncating the entire electoral process and derailing our hard-earned democracy.
“There are plots by the Buhari presidency to use Amina Zakari, who has been mentioned as part of those involved in the rigging of the 2018 governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states, to plunge the 2019 general elections into controversies, truncate the flow of results and even render elections in some critical states inconclusive, to pave way for allocation of fictitious votes to Buhari and the APC.”
The party said the National Peace Committee and the entire world should know that as long as Amina Zakari is in INEC, a peaceful election is not guaranteed “because she has the mandate to abuse the process and this will not be accepted by Nigerians.”
The PDP also drew the attention of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, to its claim that there can be no peaceful elections when citizens are put under siege.
“We declare that peaceful election cannot be guaranteed as long as the Buhari Presidency continues to besiege, harass, intimidate, unleash violence and provocative acts of totalitarianism against opposition figures and persons perceived to be against Buhari’s self-succession bid.
“The PDP alerts the entire world and particularly the CJN of the ongoing use of the police to clamp down on opposition figures, particularly members of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council and outspoken CSOs on trumped-up criminal charges.
“This is a clear attempt to return our nation to the nightmares of the 1984 when draconian leaders forcefully subjugated innocent Nigerians under the grips of military Decree 2 and we urge the CJN to save our nation by insulating the judiciary from this ignoble scheme.”
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, alleged that Zakari was forced on the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu by the presidency to announced her as the head of the collation centre.
According to him, PDP and other political parties no longer have trust in the electoral umpire to conduct free, fair and credible elections come 2019.
Fayose, who spoke to journalists at the Atiku/Obi Southwest campaign summit in Ibadan, Oyo State at the weekend, said the footstep of the electoral umpire in the last three and half years had indicated that it was biased.
He described the appointment of Zakari as the head of the national collation center for the 2019 presidential election as a moral burden. “It is heartbreaking for the ruling party to force the cousin of the president on the electoral umpire.”
“Let me tell you why they brought Zakari. APC employed consultants to conduct opinion polls, and largely the parameters were that what happened in 2015 may likely repeat itself in 2018.
“They found out that in 2014, President Buhari a Muslim from the north and Jonathan a Christian from the south. Now President Buhari, a Muslim from the north and Atiku Abubakar is also a Muslim from the north. They went further and found out that Buhari is a Fulani man from the north and Atiku Abubakar is also a Fulani man from the north.”
Fayose said it amazed him that INEC chairman could announce Zakari as the person to collate 2019 election result.
“When they realized they cannot trust the INEC chairman himself again, they told him that the only option left for them to believe he is with them was to announce Zakari as the collation officer.”