By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Director of Field Operations in the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has said that there is nothing unlawful with any government official or individual from West African countries joining the campaign for the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking at a training programme organised for APC vote canvassers on Friday, Ribadu said the presence of two governors from Niger Republic at Buhari’s campaign in Kano did not infringe on Nigeria’s electoral law.
“For your information, it is a free world and it is the constitutional right of everyone to be where he wants to be. You have no right to curtail anybody from doing what he wants to do. People from West Africa are free to move into Nigeria. We have a protocol or agreement that they don’t need a visa to come into this country.
“I know for sure that they don’t have the vote but as a free West African who believe that someone has done extremely very well, and decided to identify himself with what he believes in, I don’t think there is anything wrong and I don’t think there is any crime committed,” he said.
Ribadu who was asked to comment on the participation of two Nigerien governors in APC Kano campaign and against the background of allegations by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the ruling party was trying use citizens from neighbouring countries to rig the coming elections, said there was no cause for alarm.
Ribadu said no one had right to stop them from exercising their fundamental right to identify with their friends in the country.
According to the former EFCC boss, the presence of the foreigners may not have any impact on their reelection since they have no voting right.
“We have to guarantee their freedom because their presence is within the law and we don’t have right to stop them,” Ribadu said.
While explaining the rationale for embarking on the training programme, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Babatunde Irukera, said the vote canvassers were being prepared with requisite skills to help mobilise support for the APC during the forthcoming elections.
Irukera also said that APC had decided to mobilise efforts to ensure wide margin win for President Buhari so as to remove any iota of doubt on his victory at the presidential election.
“The only strategy against whatever they are strategising on is an overwhelming margin and so we must make sure that the voter turnout demonstrate that there is an overwhelming popularity. All that seems to be the pressure from the international community about the transparency of our election, don’t worry about it. The way to deal with that is an overwhelming number and once we have those numbers the only thing they would say is that it doesn’t matter to them, whatever the case maybe this election represents substantially the free will of the people of Nigeria,” he said.