- … PDP reports FG to EU over Amina Zakari, INEC, security agencies
- …Says it will not accept rigged polls
By Clifford Ndujihe & Dirisu aYakubu
FOR the third time in 49 days, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, took its complaints over alleged plots of President Muhammadu Buhari, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in connivance with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC , and the security agencies to rig the 2019 polls, to the international community.
The party reported its position on Amina Zakari, the INEC and security agencies to the European Union, EU.
However, the President Buhari Campaign Organisation pooh-poohed the PDP’s allegations and also alerted the international community of the opposition party’s plan to manipulate the polls, and was trying to divert attention from it.
In an interactive session with EU Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019 yesterday, PDP Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, berated the APC-led administration for what he called its poor governance scorecard since it came into power in 2015.
Expressing worry over the continued presence of Amina Zakari in the commission, the publicity scribe also questioned the neutrality of INEC and security agencies in the general election.
He said: “Amina Zakari should not be found anywhere near the process. We have made our position known to INEC because there will be a direct conflict of interest.”
Ologbondiyan condemned the use of security agents in the past elections conducted under the watch of President Buhari, saying, “we believe that election should be free and fair. PDP subscribed to all the tenets of democracy. President Muhammadu Buhari is paying lip service to free, fair and transparent election.
“He refused to assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill. We are convinced that the President was never prepared for free and fair election. PDP as a party does not believe in violence, but would like the Presidency and INEC to conduct free and fair election. Outside of this, we will not agree.”
Earlier, Deputy Chief Observer of European Union Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019, Hannah Roberts explained that the delegation was at the party secretariat to assess the state of preparedness of the PDP for the polls.
She said: “We will of course have a discussion with range of people, contestants and stakeholders. So we have to first meet variety of people.
“We have observers spread around the country in different parts so that they can see the reality on ground. The Chief observer will be coming in to observe the election.
“We can’t control anything. Our mandate is to observe and make recommendations and issue statements, particularly after the election. And finally, recommendations after the election, in order to make future elections better.
PDP’s earlier complaints
On November 24, 2018, the PDP reported President Buhari to the United Nations, UN, over alleged plots by the Presidency and the APC to scuttle the 2019 general elections, particularly, the presidential poll.
PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who led the members of the National Working Committee, NWC, to receive the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, in his office in Abuja, claimed that President Buhari was compromising the military and other security forces to muscle the electoral process, a reason he said the service chiefs attended the president’s campaign rally.
According to him, the president had compromised the police and annexed the INEC and “today the PDP is contesting with security forces and not with the APC.”
On January 6, the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, PPCO, urged the United Nations, UN to call President Buhari to order for constituting a big threat to credible elections next month.
It also appealed to the National Peace Committee led by former military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, retd, to call the first citizen to order, saying the “desperation” to succeed himself has made the President to put national unity and stability on the line, and damning the consequence.
PDP diverting attention from its rigging plans — Keyamo
Responding to the PDP’s allegations, yesterday, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, the Spokesman of the President Buhari Campaign Organisation, alerted the international community to the opposition party’s plan to manipulate the polls and cause crisis.
According to him, 50 per cent of the PDP plan collapsed when the president refused to assent the electoral act amendment bill.
He alleged that the PDP wanted to hack into INEC’s devices to interfere with electronic transmission of results but were frustrated, adding that the security agencies were aware of the plots.
Keyamo said the PDP planned to announce fake results out of desperation before the official results are released by INEC, warning that no matter how highly placed the government would arrest and prosecute anyone who tries to undermine the polls.
On Amina Zakari, Keyamo described PDP’s position as ridiculous. “The Amina Zakari issue has been over-flogged and their (PDP) position has been found to be very ridiculous by majority of Nigerians. When they started in 2015, they said Amina was a blood niece of President Buhari. Later, they said she was a relative of the president, and now she is too close to the president.
“Initially, they said she was the one that would be collating presidential election result. When they found that the allegation was laughable and she is not the one collating results, they said they don’t want her at all at INEC. This is symptomatic of dementia.”
Keyamo, in the telephone chat with Saturday Vanguard continued: “The PDP’s allegation that the ruling party wants to rig elections defies logic, reason and truth. We had free and fair elections in 2015. The INEC is using the same electoral law it used in 2015 for the 2019 election and has improved on the machines and instruments it used in 2015.
“ The PDP is crying wolf where there is none. They are diverting attention from their plan to rig the election. It is PDP that is planning to rig out of sheer desperation. These false allegations they are raising are to divert attention. They planned to hack INEC’s devices to interfere with electronic transmission of results and had gone to discuss with experts. We are aware of intelligence around the world concerning their plan.
“With the president’s non-assent of the electoral act amendment bill half of their rigging plans collapsed. They wanted to take advantage of a system that has not been well tested and trusted. We are aware of their plans to compromise INEC and security agencies.
“ We are sending alarm to Nigerians. We shall expose them very soon and they will face the long arm of the law. We are aware they want to announce the results before the official results are released. We are aware of those involved. All the security agencies have been put on alert.
“The PDP is planning to destroy the country because of their desperation. We are also alerting the international community so that when such people are arrested they would know the reason.
“President Buhari is a man of rule of law. He contested elections three times and lost, he went to the Supreme Court and lost, and went away without bitterness. Elections will come and go. There will be winners and losers. Nobody should support attempts to destroy the country.”