Gentlemen of the Press,
We have decided to invite you to our office today to brief you on the latest act of desperation by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to undermine security of lives and property in the course of the forthcoming March 28 and April 11 general elections.
It is now very clear to us that the APC is determined to cause security breaches in the next few weeks. This has been confirmed by their vigorous campaign of calumny against the military and their consistent demand that soldiers must not be deployed for security surveillance at the polling booths in the forthcoming elections.
The opposition party’s latest gambit of latching on to some footage of a purported meeting involving some of our party leaders in the southwest zone (amongst them Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro of Lagos state, Honourable Minister Jelili Adesiyan of Osun state and Senator Iyiola Omisore of Osun state) which purportedly reflected attempts to rig the Ekiti governorship election, is both petty and despicable.
We have listened to the audio clip, which we will play to you shortly, and we make bold to say that the discussion that took place in it did not make any mention of any form of rigging in the Ekiti state governorship election and neither did it contain any evidence of any conspiracy to rig.
(PLAY EKITI AUDIO TAPE)
Rather than attempting to orchestrate rigging, what the audio clip clearly reveals was Governor Fayose expressing concerns that a Military commander was not acting on information about illegal movement of weapons into certain parts of the state. The Governor and others were apparently worried that safety of the voters and INEC officials could be compromised if security measures were not strictly enforced.
We challenge the APC to do a critical content analysis of the discussions in the audio clip and we are confident that their claims of rigging against Governor Fayose and all the others that were mentioned cannot be sustained. Sadly the same cannot be said about the electoral perfidy which the APC perpetrated in the Osun state governorship elections. During the course of those elections, some of their agents gathered in secret locations where they thumb-printed ballot papers in favor of their governorship candidate, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
Gentlemen of the Press, we call your attention to the following, which has been aptly dubbed in the Yoruba language, “Eru-Ibo” (meaning Electoral Manipulation or Rigging). This video has been trending on www.youtube.com since October last year which you may please verify.
(PLAY OSUN VIDEO)
What you have just watched is how the retrogressive forces in Osun State rigged out our candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore, in the 2014 governorship election. It is ironic that instead of purging itself of its own insatiable appetite for rigging and cheating, the APC, through its Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, chose to call a press conference in which he alleged that our leaders were ordering soldiers to rig in Ekiti state.
This is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black. The tape that the APC referred to made no mention of rigging and did not expose any attempt to rig by Fayose or anyone else whilst the tape that we have just played exposes ample evidence of rigging by the APC in Osun state.
In addition to this, the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation wishes to take this opportunity to draw the attention of the Nigerian people and members of the international community to the subtle threat of violence in a statement by General Muhammadu Buhari, at the APC stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
General Buhari said that the patience of the APC and its leaders were on test. One wonders what he means by that and what he and his supporters intend to do once that patience runs out. In an AFP news report of Friday, February 6, 2015, he was asked if he would accept the outcome of the presidential election no matter how unfavourable. Listen to his answer: “I am not going to lose; so I won’t answer that question.” Again, only yesterday, Wednesday, February 18, 2015, in an interview on ARISE Television, General Buhari was asked what his reaction would be if he loses the election. His answer was: “We shall see.”
As far as we are concerned, these are ominous and subtle threats to unleash violence on the Nigerian people and all those that he perceives are his enemies in the event of his losing the election. General Buhari, with his characteristic incendiary and inciting statements, has succeeded in inflaming the destructive passion of his supporters in the northern part of the country on many occasions in the past. We recall his unacceptable remarks on May 15, 2012 when he said “if what happened in 2011 should happen again in 2015, the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood.”
We witnessed the orgy of violence that they unleashed shortly after the announcement of the results of the 2011 presidential election, which the Sheik Lemu Committee, in its report to the Federal Government, said was caused by Buhari’s inflammatory statements.
We recall with sadness the massacre of some of our vibrant youth corpers who participated in the 2011 election as INEC’s ad-hoc staff in Bauchi State. We are concerned that the same thing may happen again given General Buhari’s divisive and inciting comments coupled with the APC’s violent disposition.
What happened in Maiduguri last Monday when General Buhari went there gives cause for concern. His irate supporters burnt down the campaign offices of our party and torched our vehicles. We also saw pictures of some under-age boys carrying lethal weapons such as AK 47 and Dane guns. (See picture attached) This is irresponsible and dangerous. The question must be asked: are we running elections or going for war?
The PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation hereby declares unequivocally that the sordid killing of Youth Corpers or anyone else must not be repeated in the forthcoming general elections. It is for this reason that the Federal Government must deploy soldiers to ensure peace, stability and security during and after the elections.
The attempt by the APC to discredit the use of soldiers by promoting some misleading audio footage of the so-called rigging during the Ekiti governorship election, in which one Captain Sagir Koli was the dramatis personae, is childish and absurd.
The Federal Government deployed soldiers In the Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun gubernatorial elections and all those elections were devoid of violence. Remarkably, the APC won in Edo and Osun; APGA won in Anambra, Labour Party won in Ondo while PDP won only in Ekiti State.
The basis on which the APC is agitating for the exclusion of soldiers from the election by sponsoring court cases is patently dubious and untenable. The reason that the APC and its leaders do not want soldiers deployed is to be able to intimidate voters and unleash violence on the polity once they lose the elections. They know that it would be far more difficult for them to do that when soldiers are on the streets.
With these dishonourable tactics and desperate acts by the APC, we are the ones who should be worried and who should be complaining but, unlike Buhari and the APC, our patience is not running out because we are committed to a peaceful election and we completely reject the option of violence.
On a final note we would like to state clearly and categorically that we will keep faith with the spirit and letter of the Abuja Accord and we plead with well-meaning Nigerians to urge General Buhari and the APC to do the same.
I thank you for your attention and I will be willing to take some questions.