▪ Cautions Soldiers to Steer Clear of Reruns
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says President Muhammadu Buhari’s posturing that he will not manipulate the March 23 Governorship supplementary elections is not only a direct confession that the Presidency used its overbearing influence to rig the February 23 Presidential election, but also a fresh subterfuge to divert public attention from APC’s rigging plots ahead of the Supplementary elections.
Last Sunday, the Presidency had called on members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to work hard in States were supplementary elections would hold because the President would not weigh in on the party’s behalf.
In a statement, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said, “The Presidency also rejects unfair and ridiculous criticisms of President Muhammadu Buhari’s apparent disinterest in the upcoming elections in some states by party members who wrongfully assume that the President will abuse his power by changing results to favour them.
“Past presidents of Nigeria were known to interfere in inconclusive elections, and that is why party members appear to be upset that the same thing is not happening now.
“President Buhari is a different kind of leader. He swore to defend the Constitution and he will not veer off from that.
“The Constitution of Nigeria gives the President no such powers. It is unfair and ridiculous to criticise President Buhari for not going against the Constitution.
“Party members in states where there will be supplementary elections then need to be reminded that they need to work hard to earn their people’s votes, rather than expect President Buhari to manipulate INEC in their favour.”
The PDP says the Presidency’s confession that APC members are mounting pressure “confirms the Buhari Presidency’s manipulative and rigging capacity, including militarization of the electoral process, instigating of violence and alteration of results, as were freely used by the APC in the Presidential election.”
It adds: “The PDP alerts Nigerians, especially those in states where the supplementary elections have been scheduled to hold, to be wary of the antics of the Buhari Presidency, as it has never been committed to free, fair and credible election.
“Nigerians can recall that ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, President Buhari had promised to allow for a free, fair, transparent and credible process, only for his Presidency and party, the APC, to engage in downright manipulations at INEC, deployment of military and thugs to intimidate and suppress voters, as well as outright alteration of results delivered from the polling units.
“President Buhari cannot exonerate himself of the harm inflicted on our polity by the deployment of soldiers in the 2019 general elections, as nobody deploys the military except the President and Commander-in-Chief.
“Now that President Buhari, in his official capacity, has come out to state that he will not intervene in the March 23 Supplementary election; we ask, is Mr. President assuring Nigerians that any ‘soldier’ seen directly involving in the rerun election is fake and should be treated as such?
“The PDP charges the military to note the import of the statement by the Presidency and steer clear of the supplementary elections.
“The PDP also cautions INEC officials to note that Nigerians are very eager about the outcome of the governorship supplementary elections, given that the PDP is already leading in these states. Nigerians are not ready to accept any results that do not reflect the reality of our victory, which is already known to all”.
Apparently anticipating the PDP position, the Presidency’s statement on Sunday said, “Interestingly, while members of the ruling APC party were criticising the President for not interfering on their behalf, members of the opposition were condemning the President based on their assumptions that he would definitely interfere, as many in the opposition did while in power.
“Under President Buhari, INEC had been and will be completely independent throughout the elections, free from any interference.
“President Buhari is a man of conviction, and the manipulation of election results goes against everything he stands for.
“INEC is completely in charge”.