The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that he will not interfere with the supplementary elections is a direct confession that he used his influence to rig the February 23 presidential election.
President Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, had said some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) expected the president to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to change results of the forthcoming supplementary elections in favour of the ruling party but the president would not do so.
INEC had declared the March 9 elections inconclusive in some states and fixed March 23 for supplementary polls.
Shehu said as a leader who had sworn to uphold the constitution, Buhari would not interfere with the exercise.
But in a statement by PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described what the president said as a “subterfuge to divert public attention from APC’s rigging plots” ahead of the rerun.
It called on Nigerians, especially those in states where the supplementary elections have been scheduled to hold, to be wary of the “antics of the Buhari Presidency as it has never been committed to free, fair and credible elections”.
“The Presidency’s confession that APC members are mounting pressure on President Buhari to help them to rig the supplementary elections further confirms the Buhari Presidency’s manipulative and rigging capacity, including militarization of the electoral process, instigating of violence and alteration of results, as were freely used by the APC in the Presidential election,” the PDP said.
“Nigerians can recall that ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, President Buhari had promised to allow for a free, fair, transparent and credible process, only for his Presidency and party, the APC, to engage in downright manipulations at INEC, deployment of military and thugs to intimidate and suppress voters, as well as outright alteration of results delivered from the polling units.
“President Buhari cannot exonerate himself of the harm inflicted on our polity by the deployment of soldiers in the 2019 general election, as nobody deploys the military except the president and commander-in-chief.
“Now that President Buhari, in his official capacity, has come out to state that he will not intervene in the March 23 Supplementary election. We ask, is Mr President assuring Nigerians that any ‘soldier’ seen directly involved in the rerun election is fake and should be treated as such?”
The PDP charged the military to note the import of the statements by the presidency and “steer clear of the supplementary elections”
The party also cautioned INEC officials to note that Nigerians were very eager about the outcome of the supplementary elections, given that “the PDP is already leading in these states”.