- Allegations are baseless, says Army
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Peoplesâ€™ Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna state has accused the Nigerian army and the police for allegedly aiding in the manipulation the results of the May 12 local government elections in the state.
In a statement issued saturday in Kaduna, the PDP alleged that during the elections, some government officials went to some local governments with heavily armed policemen and soldiers, threatening, abducting and bribing returning officers to falsify the results.
The statement particularly accused the authorities of the 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna and the Kaduna state police command for allowing their men to help in perpetrating illegalities during the elections.
The statement signed by Abraham Catoh, spokesman of the PDP in the state, maintained that elections were conducted peacefully in polling units where the electronic voting machines (EVM) were used, stressing that shortly before the election results were collated, two officials of the state government allegedly â€œwent round some local government areas with heavily armed policemen and soldiers harassing, threatening, abducting and bribing returning officers.â€
The statement alleged that the returning officers were bullied to falsify figures, change results and declare APC as the winners in those areas.
The PDP said: â€œIn local government areas like Igabi, Giwa, Kaduna North, Kubau, Kudan, Lere, Ikara, Birnin Gwari, Soba and Makarfi, the EVMs were not deployed to the polling units hence, no election took place, but surprisingly fake results were announced by the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KAD-SIECOM) and APC candidates were declared winners.
â€œFurthermore, in contravention of the provisions of Section 23 (2)(a)(b) of the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission Law No. 2, 2018, which states that â€˜the returning officer shall announce the results and declare the winner of Elections at Ward Collation Centre in the case of Councillorship Elections and Local Government Collation Centre in the case of Chairmanship election results from Kaduna North, Igabi, Giwa, Birnin Gwari, Lere, Kubau, Ikara, Soba, Makarfi, Sabon Gari, Kudan, Zaria, Kagarko and Sanga local government areas, were not announced at the Ward or Local Government areas as stipulated by the law.â€
The party alleged further that the electorates who came out to defend their votes were tear-gassed, beaten and molested by security agents accompanying the two government officials.
The statement further maintained that â€œKAD-SIECOM obviously demonstrated its bias and partisanship by cancelling the election results Kaura, Jaba and Kajuru local government areas after they realised that the PDP clearly won the elections.â€
It further called for the arrest and prosecution of the government officials who allegedly went about molesting people with security personnel.
However, the Nigerian Army has denied the allegations by the PDP Kaduna State Chapter that its personnel were used to influence the outcome of the Local Government elections in the state.
The Deputy Director Army Public Relations, Col. Muhammad Dole, in a statement yesterday also said the alleged involvement of the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Division Nigerian Army (NA), Maj-Gen. M Mohammed in the recently concluded Local Councils polls were false.
Dole observed with dismay that stalwarts of either political party faction or an opposition party are resorting to desperate blackmail and outright falsehood with intent to drag the military into party politics.
He stated that â€œpreviously it was false allegation of demolition of a party Secretariat and now direct involvement of the GOC. This allegation is totally baseless and irresponsibly conceived with ill motive of tarnishing the image and personality of the GOCâ€.
He said: â€œThe fact of the matter is that, on Friday May 11, 2018, General Mohammed was dutifully engaged in Kano, where he attended the burial rites of the late Sheikh Isyaka Rabiu and turbaning ceremony of Lt-Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau (rtd) (Minister of Interior) as Baraden Kano.
â€œOn Saturday, May 12, 2018, Gen. Mohammed accompanied the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt-Gen. TY Buratai to pay condolence visit to the families of late Sheikh Isyaka Rabiu in Kano and thereafter visited Depot NA in Zaria before returning to Kaduna in the evening after the conduct of the local Councils electionsâ€.
Dole stressed that the military personnel are conscious of their roles in the conduct of any election exercise and strictly abide by the Nigerian Army Code of Conduct on elections exercise.
Likewise, he said, military hierarchy always emphasises apolitical stance of its troops in all the occasions.
He challenged â€œthe perpetrators of this falsehoodâ€ to back up their allegations with pictorial views or visual evidence of the scenes of the event to prove the involvement of the GOC or troops of the 1 Division NA in any part of Kaduna Stateâ€.
Dole urged the public to disregard the publication in its entirety and â€œregard the perpetrators as mischief makers and enemies of progress who are bent on pitching the military against the peace loving people of Kaduna Stateâ€.
â€œIn view of the foregoingâ€, he said, â€œHeadquarters, 1 Division NA requests the immediate retraction of this allegation with apology to our gallant officers and men who are daily paying supreme sacrifice to ensure peaceful atmosphere in Kaduna Stateâ€.
Dole further warned the perpetrators to issue retraction of this unfounded allegation on or before Saturday, May 26, 2018. He said failure to do, an appropriate legal action would be taken against them.
Also, a senior government official who pleaded anonymity because he is not allow to talk to the media, said allegations against the two government officials were baseless, adding that â€œthe PDP is crying wolf because it failed woefully at the polls.â€
He said â€œinstead of burying itself in shame, the party has resorted to outright lies and blackmailing of government officials.â€