If anyone makes the mistake of snatching ballot boxes or uses thugs to disturb the electoral process in the coming elections, he may pay for it with his life, President Muhammadu Buhari has chilling told his party members in Abuja at an emergency meeting of leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday.
Said he:“Anybody who decides to snatch ballot boxes or lead thugs to disturb, it may be the last unlawful action you will take.”
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has a contrary view, fearing those who have sewn fake military uniforms for thugs and armed them may kill and maim Nigerians under that guise.
Its spokesman Mr Kola Ologbondiyan said in a statement: “The (PDP) alerts Nigerians that the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) plot to trigger widespread political crisis to derail our democratic process and plunge our nation into anarchy.
“The PDP says President Muhammadu Buhari’s threat to the lives of Nigerians, at the opening of APC’s national caucus meeting in Abuja today, is a direct call for jungle justice and attempt to divert public attention from their closed session where details of their dastardly plot to truncate our democratic process will be perfected.
“We do hope that this call by President Buhari is not a camouflage for the fake soldiers mobilized by the APC to shoot at innocent Nigerians, snatch ballot boxes and execute their rigging plans on the election day. It is indeed a license to kill, which should not come from any leader of any civilized nation.
“The underlining fact to the above is that President Buhari and APC leaders, upon getting to their voting constituencies last Saturday, realized that there is a nationwide rejection of Buhari’s re-election bid, and this has thrown them into a panic mode.
“President Buhari must however bear in mind that his resort to threats and scaremongering will not deter Nigerians from coming out en-masse to vote him out of office on February 23.
“We are aware that President Buhari, who had earlier boasted that nobody can ‘unseat’ him, is bent on using every dictatorial and tyrannical act to truncate the process of a free, fair and credible election.”
At the APC meeting, the President said: “I do not expect anybody to make any disturbance. I have briefed the law enforcement agencies and the military. We have identified hot spots, flash points, they should be prepared to move. We have made as much arrangements as possible and resources provided as much as the country can afford….
“I have really given the military and the police orders to be ruthless. We are not going to be blamed that we want to rig elections.
“I want Nigerians to be respected, let them vote whoever they want across the parties. I am not afraid. I went round the whole 36 states and Abuja, I think I have gotten enough support across the country so I am going to warn anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system, he will do it at the expense of his life.”
He also announced that the IndependentNational Electoral commission (INEC) has questions to answer on the circumstances that led to the postponement of elections. But that will have to wait after the whole process.
His words: “I (had) to leave my constituency and come to Abuja immediately, because I was told of the decision of INEC about 4:30 in the morning.
“I told them in my statement at the airport that INEC had all the time and all the resources they wanted and then they have to wait for only six hours to casting the votes to tell us that it is not possible. Definitely, the reasons why such incompetence manifest itself has to be explained to the nation.
“After the elections we have to know exactly what happened and who is responsible. Otherwise our efforts to make sure this system we voluntarily accept is not making progress, what is the use if we accept incompetence? The constitution and the laws protected INEC but they must not take us for granted. If for example the national assembly refused to approve what INEC wanted, then INEC could have some other reasons why they couldn’t perform.
“If the time constitutionally (for) election four years after was not obeyed by the government in the system, INEC will have a case. But we do not understand why, and we have to go into details after the elections to find out who is responsible.”