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APC: Tinubu Didn’t Blame Buhari for Current Woes Atiku to DSS: Ex-Lagos Gov Planning Revolution, Riots
* Malami reiterates president’s commitment to credible polls
* INEC maintains no PVC, no voting stand
Adedayo Akinwale, Alex Enumah in Abuja, George Okoh in Makurdi and Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC),yesterday, said its candidate, Bola Tinubu, did not mention, blame or accuse President Muhammadu Buhari of being responsible for the current challenges in the country.
But in a counter move, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has alerted the Department of State Services (DSS) and other relevant authorities of plans by Tinubu to destabilise the country through a violent revolution and riots.
Nevertheless, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, yesterday, reiterated the commitment of President Buhari, towards a credible, free, fair and widely acceptable general election.
At the same time, the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has maintained that no registered voter without the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) would be allowed to participate in the elections which is scheduled to commence February 25.
Tinubu had while speaking at a presidential rally at the MKO Abiola stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta, Ogun State, said the lingering fuel crisis and naira redesign by the Central Bank of Nigeria were part of a plot to thwart his expected victory.
“They don’t want this election to hold. They want to scuttle it. Will you allow them? They have started coming up with the issue of ‘no fuel’. Don’t worry, if there is no fuel, we will trek to cast the vote. If you like, increase the price of fuel, hide the fuel or change the ink on the naira notes, we will win the election. Let the price of fuel continue to increase, they are the ones that know why they are hoarding it.
“They are hoarding naira notes, they are hoarding fuel, we will vote and we will win. If you like, change the ink in the naira note, we will win the election, the opposition will be defeated,” Tinubu had said.
But the Director, Media and Publicity, APC PCC, Bayo Onanuga, in a statement, said Nigerians should no longer be in doubt about those working in cahoots with fifth columnists in the system to inflict avoidable pains on the hapless people for political end.
He said no sooner had Tinubu empathised with the Nigerian people facing the dual crises of fuel and new Naira notes scarcity, than the PDP and the Atiku camp issued a knee-jerk response, derailing from the issues, distorting Tinubu’s statement and trying, in vain, to create a wedge between him and Buhari.
The campaign noted that Tinubu was only calling the government’s attention to the sabotage being carried out by some fifth columnists in the system, possibly working in cahoots with the PDP, stressing that when the guilty were afraid of being uncovered, they tried to push back with red-herring
“For the records, Asiwaju Tinubu during APC campaign rally at Abeokuta on Wednesday, in his statement, did not mention, blame or accuse President Muhammadu Buhari for the current challenges in the country.
“The CBN officials, including Governor Godwin Emefiele have said many times that enough new Naira notes have been supplied to the banks, yet, our people complain that they have not been able to get the new notes. In recent days, many ATMs are either not working or when working they are dispensing the old notes, just a few days to the January 31 deadline.”
Onanuga stressed that Tinubu was aware of the salutary efforts by Buhari to end the fuel queues, by chairing a 14-man panel, yet the queues and agony continue.
He added that for a presidential candidate, who cared about the suffering of the people, he had a duty to warn the government that its efforts to make life better for Nigerians were being sabotaged on several fronts.
According to him, “Our presidential candidate only re-echoed what is well-known and acknowledged, even by President Buhari himself at different fora. That there are fifth columnists in and outside of government, who often throw spanners in the works against good intentions and programmes of the government.”
Atiku Tells DSS Tinubu Planning Revolution, Riots
Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communications, Phrank Shaibu, who alerted the DSS that Tinubu was planning revolution and riot, said Tinubu’s outburst at the APC rally in Abeokuta, was a prelude to the violence he was planning.
“Recall that Tinubu, while addressing a crowd at Abeokuta, almost declared himself as winner of an election that is 29 days away, using the same entitlement mentality that he used in blackmailing his party men into getting the ticket for the general election.
“But we restate that, his rhetoric does not reflect someone, who will accept defeat in the event of his imminent electoral loss. He said in the Yoruba language, ‘This is a revolution. This election is a revolution. They don’t want us to have votes. They want to scatter it. Will you agree? No… I’m bringing a revolution.’
“Tinubu is not too big and he has no immunity neither is he above the law of the land to be interrogated by the Department of State Services or by the Nigerian police. To avoid bloodshed in the coming election, the APC flag bearer’s comments must not be waved aside. For clarity, in political science, a revolution is a ‘forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favour of a new system.’
“It is funny that Tinubu, who has been the national leader of his political party for over eight years, is now threatening a revolution against a government being run by his party, one month to an election in which he is participating in. Essentially, he is saying if he cannot have it, no one will.
“Recall that earlier in June 2022, Tinubu boasted in the same Yoruba language and also in Abeokuta about how president Buhari cried on National Television following his electoral losses and how he (Tinubu) made him president. It is not a coincidence that barely seven months after, he returned to Abeokuta to accuse and denigrate President Muhammadu and the APC-led federal government of trying to frustrate him.
“From information available to us, Tinubu has begun releasing money to some of his quack activists to stage protests in some strategic locations in the country especially, in Abuja in order to cause violence ahead of the polls which he will lose.
“On the surface, the protests will be about the lingering petrol scarcity which he had refused to comment on before the election. Some demonstrations will also be held against the Central Bank of Nigeria in order to force the apex bank to extend the deadline for the currency swap.
“While it is the inalienable right of Nigerians to protest, Tinubu’s accusation that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was behind the petrol scarcity and the scarcity of the new naira note, a nonsensical claim given the fact that the PDP has not been in power for the last eight years.
“As his former campaign director, Hajia Najaatu Mohammed, stated on Arise Television, Tinubu has no honour whatsoever. Money is his religion and his essence. He wants to buy the election with bullion vans just as he bought the Presidential ticket of his party last year but this will never happen.”
Relatedly, the Presidential Campaign Organisation of the PDP has also told Tinubu, to count it out of his self-inflicted woes with President Muhammadu Buhari resulting in his continued attack and pouring of vitriolic on the person of Mr President.
One of the spokespersons of the Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, said it was strange that Tinubu wanted the world to believe that his caustic remarks against Buhari were intended for Atiku and the PDP, when neither Atiku nor PDP was involved in the monetary policies or the failure to arrest the horrifically unending fuel crisis.
He noted that Tinubu also knew that Buhari approved the redesigning of the naira and that issues of distribution of the naira notes were vested in the APC-controlled federal government and not the PDP, even as he pointed out that it was clear that Tinubu’s verbal assaults against Buhari was the “official position of his confused, disoriented and disorganised campaign organisation.”
Continuing, he said, “The Campaign says it is indeed pathetic that in less than 24 hours after Tinubu stood on the public stage at his Presidential Rally in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to accuse the Buhari administration of creating fuel scarcity and redesigning the naira to scuttle the 2023 election, he is turning around to blame the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for his woes.
“It is important to remind Asiwaju Tinubu that in accusing the ‘powers that be’ of creating fuel scarcity and hoarding the naira to truncate the election, he knew that President Buhari is the Minister of Petroleum Resources and that all agencies of government in charge of prospecting and distribution of petroleum resources are under his (Buhari) office.
“It is noteworthy that having come to the conclusion, by himself, that he does not enjoy the support of President Buhari, having realised that his campaign is now falling apart with its leaders leaving in droves given his manifest rejection by Nigerians, Asiwaju Tinubu now seeks to blackmail the President and incite his followers to violence, with the view of truncating the electoral process and blaming it on President Buhari.”
In another development, Atiku, at a rally in Ebonyi, has said he had been propagating the gospel of restructuring, because he believed in it and meant it, adding that, the the ruling APC abandoned restructuring because the party was deceitful.
“We are convinced that this state is a PDP state. And as you know, I am committed to power devolution as well as resource control, restructuring and I know all the South-eastern states have been yearning for it.
“I’ve been propagating for the restructuring of this country, because we want them to have more powers and more resources to deal with their own local affairs. The APC, they abandoned the issue of restructuring. They are a very deceitful party or alliance. We are committed to it and we mean it. So, give us the support we are going to deliver.”
“These people formed a party called APC, it is not a party, it is an alliance. The Alliance is collapsing and it has collapsed. You have no business voting for APC, anyway you have never voted for APC before,” he said.
While assuring the people that his administration would be for the youth and the women, he said, “I want to assure you that the next government of PDP is going to be a government for the youth and for the women, because you are in majority and we must recognise that and we must give you the opportunity so that you can also be able to lead us of this country.”
Director General of the campaign and the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, also said the crowd at the rally was a testament that the state remained a PDP state.
On his part, the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, in a subtle attack on the APC, urged the people not to lose hope because of one bad administration.
“Do not lose hope because of one bad administration. That party is not a party, that party is a coalition of small parties that got together and deceived Nigeria people. It will not happen again,” he said.
Malami Reiterates Buhari’s Commitment to Credible Polls
Malami, who reiterated the commitment of President Buhari, towards the conduct of a credible, free, fair and widely acceptable general election, spoke yesterday at a conference organised by the National Association of Judiciary Correspondents (NAJUC), Abuja chapter.
Speaking on the theme, “2023 General Elections: Judiciary and Sustainability of Nigeria’s Democracy”, the AGF pointed out that the President’s recent assent to the Electoral Act, 2022, which has been applauded by many patriotic citizens, pundits and international community alike is an attestation to the administration’s determination to conduct a remarkable poll.
Malami pointed out that the sustainability of Nigeria’s democracy was not linear, stressing that citizens have vital roles to play in the democratic process and must shun all vices that were capable of undermining the progresses that have been recorded so far.
“In particular, the media is paramount in voter education so that the Nigerian citizens are enlightened to resist the urge of selling their votes and not to allow themselves to be used to commit electoral offences or cause violence before, during and after elections,” the AGF stated.
At the same time, the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Justice Hussain Baba Yusuf, admitted that the Judiciary was under pressure due to unprecedented number of pre-election cases, which could d skyrocket after the election proper.
Represented by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, the CJ assured the people that justice would be done to all the cases without fear, favour or ill-will.
INEC Maintains No PVC, No Voting Stand
Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has insisted that no eligible voter in the country would be allowed to cast vote in the forthcoming general election without a Permanent Voter Card (PVC).
Yakubu assured the people that the Bimodal Voter Registration System (BVAS) was highly secured, intact and could not be compromised or hacked into by overzealous persons.
Speaking on the topic, “INEC and the Challenges of ICT- The Way Forward”, Yakubu insisted that technology would be deployed to actualise a credible, fair and hitch-free general election.
“As with every aspect of our national lives, adopting technologies into the electoral process is always met with challenges. One major challenge was the lack of a clear-cut legal framework supporting the deployment of technology by the commission especially, in the accreditation of voters and the voting process.
“The deployment of the Smart Card Readers in 2015 and its use was faced with various challenges such as resistance to use in some isolated instances, snatching and destruction of devices, attempts to manipulate the use of the devices, and most prominently various judicial pronouncements on the legality of its use,” Yakubu said.
Represented by the Director ICT, Dr Lawrence Bayode, the INEC Chairman said, “Another very disturbing trend is the misinformation and disinformation on technological deployments by the commission on the social media space and some media houses picking up news bulletins from social media platforms to discuss on their morning shows and political programmes without reaching out to the Commission for its stance on such issues. One of such is the recent viral assumptions that PVC is not required to vote on Election day.”
Chairman of NAJUC, Kayode Lawal, appealed to politicians to play politics by the rules and in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.