Atiku said some elements are making alternative plans to hold a staggered election.
The Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has raised the alarm over plans by some elements in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to foment violence in a few states in order to force the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone Saturday’s election.
He said that the alternative plan was to hold a staggered election whereby elections would not be held simultaneously across the country.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, the PDP presidential candidate, warned that failure to hold elections on the same day across the country would be an invitation to rigging.
He added that the violence in Kano was a prelude to this plan.
Mr Shaibu added, “Today, there was serious violence at the Kwanar Dangora on the outskirts of Kano City. This is a state where the APC holds sway. They have already started with the violence as they did in 2019, where they forced a rerun and then used violence to win.
“We also have it on good authority that this will happen in Borno, Yobe, Kaduna. Kaduna, in particular, must be singled out because the Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has been prodding his people to disobey President Muhammadu Buhari. He has also been running from pillar to post since his plan to unleash the old naira notes on voters was scuttled by the Federal Government.”
Atiku’s aide commended the Nigeria Police Force for arresting and arraigning APC federal lawmaker in Rivers State, Ephraim Nwuzi, who was caught on video discussing plans to attack electoral officials in the state.
The PDP candidate asked the police not to leave any stone unturned ahead of the election, especially in Rivers State, which is one of the most volatile during elections.
He added, “We commend the police for arresting and arraigning the lawmaker representing Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Ephraim Nwuzi. His utterance is evidence that the APC has a grand plan to foment violence on election day. This is their only strategy to hold on to power after failing Nigerians.”
He also asked the police to pay close attention to states like Ebonyi, Cross River, and Imo states where the governors are bent on doing anything possible to ensure that Mr Tinubu gets the 25 per cent requirement.
“Ebonyi, Cross River, and Imo are all traditional PDP strongholds. However, their governors are members of the APC. They know that they cannot deliver their states for Bola Tinubu, who stands no chance of winning. With vote buying now very difficult, the only option will be to suppress votes through violence.
“The police, the military, and other security agencies must therefore keep an eye on these states in order to prevent violence,” he says.
The PDP candidate, who commended deployment of sizeable number of security agents in Lagos, said local government areas such as Oshodi/Isolo, Amuwo Odofin, Eti Osa, Ikorodu, Ojo, Ajeromi/Ifelodun and Surulere must be put on high alert to forestall intimidation and rigging.
“There have been complaints about voter suppression in Lagos in the past. In the 2019 presidential election, Oshodi/Isolo witnessed violence, which forced elections to be cancelled in some polling units. Even in Eti Osa today, a council secretary and traditional leader vowed to evict traders if they don’t vote for the APC.
“They are doing this to impress their master and godfather, Bola Tinubu, and we hope the international observers are seeing this. We commend the police for summoning those behind the threats against non-indigenes. But more efforts must be channelled towards arresting more of such bigots,” he stated.
Special Assistant, Public Communication to Atiku Abubakar,
Former Vice President (1999-2007) and Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party.
23rd February, 2023.