The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s posturing on free and fair supplementary elections as a fresh subterfuge to divert public attention from the rigging plots of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, had said on Sunday that Buhari had, to the displeasure of his party men, said he would not interfere in the conduct of the extra elections billed to hold in five states on Saturday.
Shehu quoted his principal as advising APC members in states where elections were declared inconclusive to work hard to earn their people’s votes rather than expect Buhari to use state apparatus in manipulating the process to their favour.
But the PDP, in a statement yesterday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, swiftly described the President’s assurance as a direct confession that the presidency used its overbearing influence to rig the February 23 presidential election.
The main opposition, therefore, called on 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.
It maintained that Buhari could not exonerate himself of the harm inflicted on the country’s polity by the deployment of soldiers in the general election, as nobody deploys the military except the President and Commander-in-Chief.
It stated: “The presidency’s confession that APC members are mounting pressure on Buhari to help them to rig the supplementary elections further confirms the Buhari presidency’s manipulative and rigging capacity, including militarisation of the electoral process, instigating of violence and alteration of results, as were freely used by the APC in the presidential 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.
“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 also cautioned 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.
The party warned that Nigerians are not ready to accept any results that do not reflect the reality of our victory, which is already known to all, even as it urged the military to note the import of the statement by the presidency and steer clear of the supplementary elections.