Opposition forces under the platform of the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, have welcomed the decision of the United States, U.S, and the United Kingdom, U.K. The governments yesterday warned that politicians, who instigate violence or are involved in electoral fraud, will be refused visas to enter their countries.
In statements issued by the US Embassy and British High Commission in Abuja, on Thursday, both governments called for free and fair elections, announcing that politicians working towards scuttling the exercise would not only face a number of sanctions but would also have their family members face visa bans to the US and the UK.
The CUPP first national spokesperson, Imo Ugochinyere, in a statement in Abuja lauded the foreign governments for their decision and described them as the true gatekeepers of democracy.
He said, “We, the opposition parties, are in full support of this decision by the UK and the USA, the true gatekeepers of democracy.
“On Monday, we will be releasing a list of 15 Buhari/APC associates involved in pre-election crisis.
“This statement from the UK and the US couldn’t have come at a better time. We have on many occasions reiterated the need for this visa ban on perpetrators of election violence and we are glad that finally, it is going to happen.
“For the past few months, Buhari and his APC-led administration have tried to create many pre-election crises by spreading fake news about the opposition in other to instil hate and unbelief in the minds of innocent citizens.
“There are many cases, from their rally of blood in Lagos where they sent goons to attack citizens, to the arrest of innocent activists, opposition politicians, journalists, and the recent baseless lie by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, that the opposition is plotting to commission bandits and Boko Haram to disrupt the 2019 elections.
“All these are few of the many election triggers done intentionally by the APC to create pre-election crisis, and we will unveil the culprits on Monday.”
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have thrown their weight behind the UK and the US decision to sanction anyone caught interfering with the elections, and called on other foreign nations to beam their searchlights on the activities of security agencies and officials of the Federal Government.
Atiku, who reacted through his aide, Mr Phrank Shaibu, said he was happy about the action of the two countries, saying: “The threat of the visa ban is a welcome development. We have been advocating a free and fair contest where the people’s votes will count. It is the government of the day that has been jittery and their subterranean moves are in the public space.
“This election is a referendum on the performance of the incumbent and you do need the services of a clairvoyant to hazard a guess as to what the outcome will be.”
The Social Democratic Party, SDP, which also supported the plan by the US, UK governments, said apart from violence and rigging, the foreign governments should add vote-buying to the list of electoral irregularities they would be on the lookout for.
The National Publicity Secretary of the SDP, Alfa Mohammed, said the foreign governments should also beam their searchlight on the electoral process as released by the INEC.
He, however, said they should also “focus attention on vote-buying which the party in power is relying on as manifested in previous elections”.