The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Wednesday, fingered presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Bola Tinubu, in what it said was a fresh plot to disrupt the February 2023 general elections.
The party says haven comes to terms with the reality of the impending loss of power by the APC, its presidential candidate was now engaged in a clandestine move to thwart the election through violent means.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Abuja, National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Debo Ologunagba, accused the APC candidate of working in alliance with people he called “enemies of democracy” to “frustrate and ultimately disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections.”
Recall that the Chief of General Staff, Gen Lucky Irabor, had penultimate week alerted the nation of plots by some persons to infiltrate the military and pressure it to violently thwart the 2023 general election.
While accusing Tinubu of such a plot, the PDP spokesman also called for international sanctions on the APC candidate while urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to watch its back very closely.
Addressing journalists, Ologunagba said: “Nigerians can recall how the deflated and desperate Asiwaju Tinubu, in a closed-door meeting in London earlier this month, declared to his members that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte. It is what we are doing; It is being determined; you do it at all cost; fight for it, grab it, snatch it and run with it”.
“In response to this directive, APC leaders and members have now activated plots to derail the electoral process through orchestrated violent attacks in various States of the country aimed to trigger a national security emergency, instill fear, and make it appear difficult to conduct elections in the country.
“Part of the plot is the current attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in various parts of the country as witnessed in Ogun, Osun, and Imo States where sections critical to the conduct of elections particularly those connected to the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) were targeted and destroyed.
“Also, our Party has been made aware of plans by the APC to orchestrate attacks in other States particularly Kogi and Delta; some States of the South East as well as parts of the North with the view to subverting the electoral process in as many States as possible.
“Intelligence available to our Party indicates that the attack on INEC facilities is to prevent newly registered voters from collecting their PVCs; destroy the PVCs so that they will not be available for collection in INEC offices, and thirdly, destroy INEC equipment and cripple its capacity to conduct elections.
“In addition, the APC has introduced a very disturbing dimension of “purchasing” PVCs from unsuspecting Nigerians through monetary inducement masquerading as empowerment programmes.
“In any case, our Party is not surprised at the resort to violence by Asiwaju Tinubu and the APC; a clear acceptance of electoral defeat which accounts for the APC’s Presidential Candidate’s decision to boycott the signing of the National Peace Accord by Presidential Candidates in the 2023 elections.
“It is apparent and disturbing that the APC Presidential Candidate has not issued any caution against the many acts of violence linked to members of his party. His body language and comments suggest the condoning of the ongoing violence in our electoral process.
“Of course, the London meeting where Asiwaju Tinubu directed his Party members to unleash violence on Nigerians was a closed-door event that inadvertently leaked to the public. The APC aimed to hit our nation with violence and mislead security agencies to direct their investigation on criminal elements and social restiveness, instead of the real culprit, the APC.
“The design is to create tension across the country to validate a narrative that elections cannot hold, then orchestrate a Constitutional crisis to justify a shifting of the elections and perpetuate certain APC elements in office beyond May 29, 2023.”
The PDP also said that the alarm raised by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on the several attacks on INEC’s facilities as widely reported in the media “further confirms our fears.”
Quoting the INEC Chairman where he said “since the 2019 general elections, up till 2022, we have recorded 50 attacks in 15 States of the federation, but the ones we recorded in 2022 are the ones we consider as systematic and coordinated and these are the ones that are targeted at derailing the preparations of the Commission from conducting free, fair, transparent and credible elections”, the party warned that “If these attacks go into January and February, it may be difficult for us to recover from these attacks. This is because if you look at Section 134 of the Constitution, it has a threshold that a candidate must meet before that candidate can be declared winner of any election”.
Calling on the security agencies to rise to the occasion and nip the alleged plot in the bud, PDP said “the security agencies (should) take immediate steps to investigate and stop the APC on its vicious plot to derail our democratic process.”
It further urged INEC to “immediately invoke its regulatory powers and impose sanctions on the APC Presidential Candidate for constituting a clear and present danger to the electoral process. Our Party also calls on the International Community to impose strict sanctions including travel restrictions on APC leaders found culpable of instigating and encouraging violence in the electoral process”, just as it demanded that “President Muhammadu Buhari should call Asiwaju Tinubu and his Party members to order so that Nigerians can peacefully choose their next President through a free, fair, transparent and credible electoral process.”
PDP said “the choice of who becomes the President of Nigeria rests on the Will of the people through the free exercise of their votes and the APC Presidential Candidate should come to terms with the resolve of Nigerians to vote in the PDP Candidate, Atiku Abubakar as the next President”, adding that “Asiwaju Tinubu must accept the fact that Atiku Abubakar, is more popular and possess the competence, requisite experience, presence of mind, mental alertness, physical stamina and political will that Nigerians earnestly yearn for in a leader at this critical time.”