Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday dismissed President Muhammadu Buhari’s birthday declaration to bequeath a legacy of free and fair elections as diversionary posturing, stating that such cannot sway Nigerians to place any trust in the present administration as far as elections are concerned.
Rather, the party called on the president to back his words with action, as nothing other than this would be a better birthday message to Nigerians.
PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said President Buhari cannot claim to be committed to free and fair election after he refused to sign the amendment to the Electoral Act and had continued to endorse the outcome of bloody and manipulated governorship elections that occurred in Bayelsa, Kogi, Kano, Ekiti, Osun States as well as the 2019 general election, in which he and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), were huge beneficiaries.
According to the main opposition party, “The president cannot rightly assert a commitment to electoral reform when he congratulated all beneficiaries of past flawed elections, while his administration failed to take any decisive step to bring known riggers and perpetrators of violence in these elections to book.”
PDP further said: “Our party notes that penance is a process from which a president is not forbidden. However, we invite the president to note that the true electoral reform, which our country requires today, goes beyond mere verbal posturing. He needs to openly support the strengthening of our electoral laws and the decisive application of the provisions thereof.”
The PDP, therefore, tasked president Buhari to demonstrate that commitment for free, fair and credible electoral process by immediately returning the Electoral Act amendment bill to the National Assembly for accelerated consideration with a commitment from him to sign it into law upon passage.
PDP said the demonstration of the birthday declaration should also include a presidential order for the immediate prosecution of the killers of Mrs. Salome Abu and all those killed in the last Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship elections.
It said: “The president should as well order the release of information to Nigerians on who was responsible for the deployment of a police helicopter to attack voters who queued up to perform their civic responsibilities and aided the manipulation of the Kogi State governorship election to favour his party.”
Moreover, PDP stated that as part of a commitment to his birthday declaration, President Buhari must assure Nigerians that he will not interfere in the process of legislative consideration of all amendments required in the electoral act, which is the only way to guarantee free, fair and credible elections in our country.