- Â Party disowns Mantuâ€™s rigging confession
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged clandestine plots by certain agents of the federal government and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to clampdown on key members of the opposition parties ahead of the 2019 general election.
The party has also dismissed the advice by the APC that it should learn from the former Senate President,Â Deputy Senator Ibrahim Mantuâ€™s claims on how he rigged election.
The main opposition party explained that part of the alleged heinous plot is also to arrest members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) opinion leaders, the media and professional groups who refused to buy into the fabrications, lies, deceptions and propaganda of the APC and the federal government.
â€œThe PDP is reliably informed that the plot against opposition will be hinged on trump up charges of corruption, allegations of plotting to disrupt the processes leading to the 2019 general election as well as alleged politicisation of security issues in the country.
â€œThe first leg of this scheme is to commence a vicious intimidation and harassment of PDP members who have refused to succumb to pressure to join the APC in their undemocratic quest to create room for a one party state in Nigeria.
â€œThis will be followed by arrests, detention as well as jailing of members of the opposition and others perceived to be opposed to the interests of the APC ahead of the elections.
â€œIt is important to state that the trajectory of our political history neither provides a space for a one party state nor a self-succession shenanigan that seeks occupation of political offices without elections.
â€œThe PDP, which grew our democracy to become sustainable and successfully handed power to the opposition after the 2015 general election, has a responsibility to ensure that democracy and the application of its tenets flourish without let in our country.
â€œThe PDP and the majority of Nigerians, rallying under our repositioned platform, will never be intimidated or cowed on the principles of democracy.
â€œAll we are saying is that the APC and its federal government must provide good governance and live up to its campaign promises of eradicating corruption, vanquishing insurgency and bringing our currency to the value of one naira to one US dollar, among others.
â€œWe want the APC and the federal government to know that this country belongs to all of us and that this plot against the people will be firmly resisted not only by the members of our party but also by generality of Nigerians and the international community at large.â€
Meanwhile PDP has responded to the jab thrown at it by the APC, maintaining that Mantu never rigged elections for it.
The party in a statement issued yesterday by its spokesman, Ologbondiyan dismissed the advice by the APC to learn from former Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantuâ€™s claims on how he rigged elections.
He said Mantuâ€™s reported claims were personal to him and has nothing to do with the PDP, adding that the party has never directed any of its members to rig election on its behalf, at any point since its formation.
â€œMantu spoke about his personal activities and tendencies in the elections where he participated. The PDP has never directed or had any pact with him to rig election on its behalf. Never!
â€œâ€Individuals run their elections on the platform of political parties once they emerge as candidates. In the PDP, candidates are issued with the partyâ€™s Code of Conduct containing the basic rules of electioneering engagements.
â€œThere is nowhere in this rules of engagement where candidates or party members are directed to rig elections on behalf of the party. If any memberâ€™s conduct transgressed these basic rules of engagement, that individual did not act on behalf of the PDP, and as such the party cannot be vicariously held responsible.
â€œIt will therefore be misplaced for anybody, including the APC, to surmise that Mantu, in the said confession of rigging, acted on behalf of the PDP.
â€œAfter all, in 2007, Mantu lost his own senatorial election. What, then, happened to his rigging machinery, if he could not deliver himself.
â€œWe urge the APC to manage its manifest failures in party administration as well as its incompetent, lack-lustre and wobbling governance which has grounded the nationâ€™s economy and brought hunger and starvation to our people,â€ the party said.