Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed worry over the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and some governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), ahead of the March 23 supplementary governorship elections in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Sokoto and Kano states.
The main opposition party in a statement Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, claimed the meeting was part of the plot to seize states where the governorship elections had been declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC.
According to him, “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rose from an emergency meeting on Thursday, March 14, 2019, where it examined the various states where elections were declared inconclusive despite the fact that the PDP was in the lead and demands that results should be released and returns made by INEC immediately.”
The party stated that after its deliberation and interface with stakeholders from the various states where the supplementary elections have been scheduled to hold, it has mandated all its members to resist any attempt by anybody to tamper with the will of the people in their states.
Ologbondiyan stated: “The hierarchy of the party condemns, in very strong terms, the manner in which the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, declared states where PDP had popular support and defeated the All Progressives Congress (APC) as inconclusive, whereas in a state like Ogun State, where APC failed to achieve a higher margin of lead over cancelled votes, it was declared the winner.
“The PDP found it strange that INEC can have two sets of rules in the same election for the various political parties.
“More worrisome is the resolution which arose from a meeting between some governors of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari, where the PDP has been informed that a decision was taken to seize Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Sokoto and Kano states in the March 23, scheduled supplementary election.
“It is instructive to state that the Buhari Presidency has not denied this strong allegation of rigging plans, thus strengthening the reality that the APC is always prepared to benefit from electoral fraud.”
The PDP also expressed worry over the damage done to the image of the military by its hierarchy by allowing itself to be used by the APC.”
The party spokesperson said it is despicable that the military has been dragged into politics to an extent where soldiers now join issues with politicians in the media and conduct its affairs as if it has become a political party.
He added that partisan involvement of our armed forces, to say the least, has impaired the confidence Nigerians have on the institution of the military.
Ologbondiyan said that in Sokoto State, the PDP was already in a clear lead, noting that the party’s victory at the March 23 supplementary election is guaranteed.
He stressed: “In Benue, the people have expressed their readiness to go into the supplementary election and they are prepared to vote for the PDP candidate, Governor Samuel Ortom. They are also aware that by PDP’s current leading margin of over 81,000 votes, it is manifestly clear that there is no way APC, with all its manipulations, militarization, arm-twisting, intimidation and harassment, will defeat the PDP in Benue.
“In Adamawa, the PDP observed the mischievous calculation of the APC in sponsoring someone, who did not participate in the election, to go to court and claim that the logo of his party was omitted in the ballot.
“This is their desperate bid to get the election already won by the PDP cancelled. The PDP however notes the failure of the APC to achieve its mischief in Adamawa State.
“In Bauchi State, it is known to all, including the APC and its governorship candidate, that Tafawa Balewa Local Government has always been a home to the PDP since 1999. We therefore counsel the APC rigging machine to avert engaging the people of that constituency, as it will be of no avail.
“In Kano State, the APC will be confronting the strong will of the people to do away with a corrupt and incompetent government, which Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has come to represent. The atmosphere of Kano State is ominous and any responsible government will take note and align in the interest of the people.”
The party said that already, the people of Kano State are standing shoulder to shoulder with the PDP in their pursuit of bringing a government that would be representative and purposeful.
Ologbondiyan noted that on no account must Nigerians allow a culture of impunity, where those who failed in any elections will compromise our electoral arbiter and force themselves on the people.
In Rivers State, the PDP restated its demand that INEC should release the results already collated on the governorship election in which PDP clearly won and declare Governor Nyesom Wike as winner.