The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday, told members of the of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Election Monitoring Team led by former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, that series of unsubstantiated allegations and misleading comments by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the ruling party constitute a threat to the forthcoming general elections.
Oshiomhole, who declared that APC is working towards ensuring free and fair elections by insisting that its members comport themselves as true democrats, however, regretted that the opposition PDP is not ready to abide by the rules.
According to him, the PDP is rather engaging in actions capable rubbing the name of the nation and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the mud.
His words: “As the National Chairman of the APC, we are committed to a peaceful election, but unfortunately, the opposition’s language and utterances does not suggest that they want free and fair elections. I believe, because they knew they have lost the elections, seeing the kind of support our candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, has been enjoying so far, as we have seen in our campaigns, the opposition are now in the habit of waking up and making unsubstantiated allegations just to deceive members of the international community.
“Unfortunately, you see some foreign missions believing their lies and issuing statements in support of the PDP. And, that is why some of us are worried that some persons are hiding under the guise of election observers to come and discredit our electoral process and also interfere in our elections and our judicial process.
“We observed that on the issue of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). This is a judicial officer, who agreed that he erred, when he did not declare some of his assets. And we have a situation whereby huge amount of foreign currencies were found in different accounts. And the PDP became the mouth piece of the CJN and it created a wrong impression before the international community, and we saw joint statements condemning the action of the President, who was acting on the recommendation made by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
“Are you saying that if a crime is conducted on election day, and because it was an election day, the person concerned should not face the law? The President of America today is being investigated over allegation of alleged Russian interference in the American election. So, I think all these unsubstantiated allegations are not good for the forthcoming general elections and that is why we believe that the PDP, knowing fully well that it will be rejected by the people at the polls, is trying to create crisis where there is none.”
The leader of the group, Mrs. Sirleaf, noted that the entire world is interested in ensuring a peaceful election in Nigeria, “because Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and anything that happens to Nigerian will not only affect the entire Africa, but the world. So, we are appealing to all the parties to preach peace and urge their supporters to pick their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), so that nobody will be disenfranchised.”
In a related development, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, also slammed the PDP over its failed attempt to demonise the ruling party, the Buhari administration and resorting to intimidation and blackmail tactics against INEC and other state institutions ahead of the general elections.
He said: “The PDP’s line of attack cannot affect President Buhari’s emphatic victory in the February 16 election. We have watched how panicky leaders of the PDP have become, having realised that they are heading for a crushing and humiliating defeat in the forthcoming general elections.
“In their confused and pitiable state, they have unconscionably hurled pedestrian allegations of partisanship and partiality against INEC and other state institutions. The PDP leaders’ strategy is to regularly call out INEC and allege partiality towards the APC thereby creating doubts in the minds of Nigerians and the international community about the independence and credibility of the electoral body.”