- CUPP accuses FG of tapping opposition leaders’ phones
Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has again accused the presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of launching a more ferocious plot with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to ambush the rescheduled elections and foist President Muhammadu Buhari on the country.
Even the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) accused security agencies of allegedly tapping opposition leaders’ telephone calls and leaking their election strategies to members of the APC.
The main opposition party said that intelligence at its disposal revealed that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has succumbed to back-channel-bullying by the presidency and APC to accede to their demand to replace Electoral Officers (EOs) in various critical states with APC agents who would execute the president’s alleged rigging plans in the upcoming elections.
The Director of Media and Publicity of PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, disclosed this Wednesday while addressing a press conference in Abuja, where he assured Nigerians that their evil plots would come to naught.
He stated: “Since the postponement of the elections, the Buhari Presidency and APC have been breathing down on the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in a desperate and feverish bid to consolidate their control of the operations of the commission and execute its rigging plot.
“At a meeting held in Buhari Presidency/APC Situation Room in the Presidential Villa last night, where Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; the Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, among others, were in attendance, Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) were directed to issue out result sheets to APC agents to falsify and declare results in favour of the APC.
“Also our party has full details of how the Department of State Services (DSS) has been interfering with operations of critical departments of INEC, including the ICT department, to do APC bidding.
“The PDP also has details of the meeting last night by President Buhari, some APC northern governors and service chiefs, whereupon pressure was mounted on the service chiefs in connection with the APC rigging plans.”
The PDP stressed that it is now clearer that the presidential order on ballot box snatchers is designed to clamp-down and even kill patriotic Nigerians who would want to confront and stop the APC from executing their rigging plots on the day of election.
He added that Nigerians in their millions, across the 176,000 polling units and voting points have been placed on readiness for this election and nobody can rig them out.
The party stated: “We alert Nigerians that the INEC Chairman has been intimidated with threat of Onnoghen’s treatment to accept a list of APC members and agents and post them to serve as EOs in various states including Kano, Kaduna, Rivers, Bauchi, Akwa-Ibom, Zamfara, Benue, Sokoto, Lagos, Plateau, Taraba, Borno, Adamawa, Kogi, Delta, Ebonyi among others.
“These APC EOs have been briefed to ensure the diversion of sensitive electoral materials from designated polling centres, delay the accreditation process, so as to frustrate voters’ enthusiasm, compromise the collation process to allocate and announce fictitious results for President Buhari and muddle up the process to pave way for result cancellation where it becomes impossible to rig for President Buhari.
“However, the PDP, in clear terms, assures INEC, compromised security agents and President Buhari that their evil plans will definitely come to naught. Nigerians are now, more than ever before, determined in rallying with our party, to confront, resist and stop President Buhari and the APC on their trail to rig the February 23 election.”
The PDP insisted that there is no way APC members will be allowed to act as INEC or fake security officers in this election, noting that the vehement public resistance that greeted INEC’s attempt to replace already trained ad-hoc staff with APC agents in some states last Friday was a direct warning to INEC.
The PDP, therefore, cautioned INEC to immediately end its back channel links and disentangle itself from the Buhari Presidency or risk being on collision course with the Nigerian people.
CUPP Accuses FG of Tapping Opposition Leaders’ Phones
Also, the CUPP Wednesday accused security agencies of allegedly tapping opposition leaders’ telephone calls and leaking their election strategies to members of the APC.
It has also raised the alarm over an alleged plot by the presidency and the APC to deploy special security forces led by the army and police to rig the forthcoming elections in Rivers State.
The CUPP spokesperson, Imo Ugochinyere, who issued a statement in Abuja, said the coalition was shocked and disappointed with the APC and some unscrupulous security agencies, who had been found to be tapping opposition leaders’ calls and leaking their electoral strategies.
According to him, “The opposition uncovered constant tapping of our calls and location marking by the APC, using the Department of State (DSS). We are utterly disgusted with this act. This administration has proven that nothing is sacred to them anymore.
“The APC-led administration is throwing caution to the winds. They invaded our democracy, gradually turning it to tyranny; they have tried to take over our judiciary, restrict freedom of speech, expression and movement. Now, they are invading the privacy of opposition leaders, by recording opposition calls, marking their locations and endangering the lives of opposition leaders,” CUPP alleged.
The coalition urged its members to abandon phone conversations and use physical meetings or the social media such as WhatsApp.
“We urge our members to abandon phone conversations, and meet face to face with anyone they wish to see, and use WhatsApp application to communicate for now because its messages and calls are now secured with an end-to-end encryption. We also urge our members to use Wi-Fi network to power their WhatsApp than the use of telecommunications means, which they can easily have access to.”
Ugochinyere called on security agencies to stop invading their privacies by tapping and leaking their calls.
“As for the immoral security agents who allow themselves to be used by this ruthless government, stop tapping our calls and leaking our electoral strategy. Channel your energy to your duties which is serving our country rather than belittling yourselves and becoming lapdogs for these lunatics.
“We call on the APC members to press pause to their raving madness for once and do something right. Focus on having credible polls like you all preach on daily basis and allow the people’s voice to be heard,” he admonished.
CUPP has also raised the alarm over an alleged plot by the Presidency and the APC to deploy special security forces led by the army and police to rig the forthcoming elections in Rivers State.
In a statement, the coalition said, “Buhari’s government thought they have perfected their plans and made things easy for themselves by using their influence on the IGP to post pro-APC police commissioners to their places of choice.”
It noted however that “with the postponement of the 2019 general election and the failure of APC to sack the INEC Chairman for standing by the people and not succumbing to the Presidency’s pressure to conduct staggered presidential elections, the APC government has now planned to deploy special security forces led by the army and police to help them make their rigging of election much easier.”
“The president earlier in the week shamelessly bragged about how he gave authorisation to his security to kill anyone who is caught for ballot-snatching, whereas it’s a ploy by him and his immoral security agents to kill innocent Rivers people who will resist their rigging plan under the guise of tagging them ballot snatchers.”
CUPP also alleged that it was in possession of credible intelligence that the army leadership acting on Buhari’s instruction was told to aid APC thugs to write fake results and abduct opposition leaders.
“The opposition also has it in good authority that the army is planning to abduct opposition leaders in Rivers on Friday night, seal off all local government collation centres to allow only APC agents switch result and thereby reducing opposition’s votes,” he said.
Describing the alleged plot as an invitation to anarchy, the opposition parties warned that it will be totally unacceptable.
“We wish to let the army know that if they plan to compromise Rivers election and write fake result, we will not for any reason accept any election rigging nor tolerate an intimidation of any sort from the army,” it warned.
The coalition called on President Buhari to call off his thugs, retract his statements and desist from further trying to incite violence for the good of the nation.
“We challenge him to engage the opposition consensus candidate, Atiku Abubakar in a free and fair contest and simply concede to defeat when he loses,” CUPP added.