Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised fears that with the pervasive presence of the military during the last presidential and National Assembly elections, the 2023 election may not hold.
It has also said the party will petition the United Nations and other global democratic institutions on the role of the military in the last elections.
Its National Chairman, Chief Uche Secondus, who spoke at the party’s expanded national caucus also said, “On February 23, 2019, how will history judge you (Buhari)? How will the next generation judge you? In fact, there may not be election in 2023, it may just be announcement because if you have the military on your side, you do not need the people, you do not need to campaign. All you need to do is to put the figure on election day and announce. Is that what is going to happen again on March 9?”
“We appeal to the authorities especially our professional military men and women that this has never happened before. They must have a rethink. If they want to participate in politics, they are free to do so. I think it happened in Thailand where the military and civilians can contest and share offices. If our constitution is changed to contain that, it is a happy development but whereas the constitution says they are not part and parcel of the process, is that what is going to happen on March 9?
“The son-in-law to our presidential candidate was arrested without justification; he has been detained and has not been released. His personal lawyer has been detained and the leaders of our country are keeping quiet; the Peace Committee is keeping quiet. Everyone here is keeping quiet.”
Alleging that Buhari was introducing dictatorship in the country, he urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to work toward a free, fair, transparent and credible Governor ship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
After the caucus meeting, the party spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan disclosed that the caucus, which did not have Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara in attendance,, commended Nigerians for refusing to be deterred by the harassment, intimidation and militarisation of the electoral process.
He noted that the mandate that was freely given to Atiku was stolen “and as such the party and the candidate jointly resolved to go to the tribunal and to see it through to the end of what is permissible within our legal system to get back our mandate on behalf of Nigerians.”
He adds: “Caucus also reviewed the situation in Kano State particularly as it concerned the court decision that the PDP should organise a fresh rerun for its governorship candidate and noted that an appeal had been filed against the judgement and we will continue to study and follow the situation as they arise.”
“Caucus further raised issues about the harassment, intimidation and the cajoling of our members on the plot by the Buhari presidency as well as the APC to intimidate Atiku and the resolve of the PDP to go to court by insisting, blackmailing and saying that he should not go to court. We insist that our party and our candidate have resolved to seek legal redress on the stolen mandate.”
On the pressure on Atiku from some parties to concede defeat, the party spokesman said: “We are aware, in fact, the information came on Saturday that the Buhari presidency and the APC have paid some of the smaller parties to come out and urge Atiku not to go to the tribunal, and today (yesterday) stating that he should not go to the tribunal. If it is true that President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC won this election, what is scaring them? What are they afraid of coming to the tribunal? They should come to the tribunal and present to the justices how they won the election.
“For us in the PDP and for our candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, our lawyers have been properly briefed and as we speak they are set to file our case at the tribunal and we will surely do that. Nobody can intimidate our party, nobody will intimidate our candidate not to follow what the law provides for, and we will do everything within the law to make sure that this stolen mandate is retrieved.”
On the absence of prominent caucus members, he said: “They were not absent; to say they were absent is to say there were no apologies. First and foremost, I want to emphatically say that many of our governors are in the election coming up on Saturday and they have slated rallies ahead of the election and as such they sent their representatives to participate in this meeting because they are out on campaign, even the president of the Senate is campaigning in Kwara, we have no issue about participation.
“Caucus essentially is different from National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, even on a normal caucus day we don’t have more than 15 to 20 people participating, so what we had today was an expanded caucus not an expanded NEC. The fact that we have an election on Saturday there are some candidates that cannot stop their campaign, for instance, our candidate in Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde was here, so I don’t think there is any issue about the participation.”