By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) for compromising the country’s territorial integrity after it ‘smuggled’ in a crowd from Niger Republic to populate its presidential campaign in Kano State.
The Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, disclosed this Friday at a press conference in Abuja, where he noted that the presence of the Niger Republic governors at Buhari’s rally signposts a direct assault on the credibility of the presidential elections.
He said this is particularly against the backdrop of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) plans to allow Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in that country to vote during elections, a situation, which it said opens the way for aliens to infiltrate the country as IDPs and participate in our elections.
According to him, “President Buhari and the APC, in their desperation have compromised our territorial integrity as a nation and this portends grave danger to our national security and the sanctity of our electoral process.
“For a nation contending with insurgency and banditry, the involvement of mercenaries from neighbouring countries in the APC rally must be condemned by all and sundry. This is particularly against the backdrop of claims by President Buhari that killer herdsmen ravaging our nation are mercenaries who are infiltrating from the Sahel region.”
Ologbondiyan noted that the promise by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State to deliver five million votes to Buhari in the 2019 elections was predicated on the unfettered opening of the country’s international borders to foreign political interests.
He stated: “Nigerians can now see the unfolding of the plots by agents of the APC to use mercenaries from neighbouring countries to precipitate crisis with the aim of scuttling the 2019 general election, having realised that they cannot win in a free, fair and credible election.
“Now we understand the weight of the submission by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Mongunu (rtd), when he stated recently that ‘unscrupulous elements are already mobilising merchants of violence, including bandits and terrorists to orchestrate violence during the elections in several states of the federation’.”
Ologbindiyan stressed that Nigerians could now understand the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, when he stated recently that: “There is also an international dimension to the evil plan. Some armed mercenaries from the Niger Republic have been contracted to attack top government functionaries, including state governors, across the North-west between now and the elections.”
The main opposition party stated that its apprehensions are accentuated by INEC’s recent mass creation of additional polling units which have not been properly designated and which may be deployed for the perpetuation of monumental electoral fraud.
The party recalled how Kano State, in 2015, delivered 1.9 million votes to the APC presidential candidate in circumstances devoid of transparency and credulity.
Against this background, the PDP demands an urgent and thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to the presence of politicians and thugs from Niger Republic at the APC presidential rally in Kano on Thursday.
Ologbondiyan stated: “Already, there are apprehensions that miscreants who came from Niger Republic to President Buhari’s rally are being offered accommodation in our country by the APC to unleash violence immediately it is clear that President Buhari is losing in the February 16 presidential election.
“The APC and the Buhari Presidency must immediately explain the roles being played by Issa Moussa, Governor of Zinder and his counterpart from Maradi, Zakiri Umar both of the Niger Republic, who were sighted decked in the attires and official logos of the APC, in our political affairs.
“Our security agencies must immediately investigate and lay in the public domain the circumstances leading to their presence, which more or less confirms that the APC has lost all domestic credibility and has assumed a desperate mode.
“What was the true purpose of the invitation of these foreigners to the APC rally in Kano on Thursday? What secret deals did APC leaders make with them at the expense of our national security?
“It begs the question how a government that vilified credible international bodies that genuinely advised on the need for a free and fair election, as interfering in our elections, would now be spending public resources to rent political mercenaries from neighbouring countries.
“We know that APC’s jettisoning of our territorial integrity and national security to hire crowds from Niger Republic is borne out of frustration over the recent successes and massive turnout of supporters at PDP rallies held in the North-west.”