THE Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has alerted of an alleged plan by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) to slow down the efficiency of the card readers in some opposition strongholds.
The former Vice President said at the 84th (Emergency) National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja on Tuesday that APC had trained some operatives who would be provided with devices to slow down the card readers.
He said the operatives were sent to China but they have returned and have been equipped with the handheld devices which they would deploy on Election Day.
Atiku stated: “We have just discovered that the APC has hired many of their operatives and have taken them to China to be trained, and they have been so trained, and they are back, and they are equipped with devices that are meant to slow or fasten our card readers.”
“So, if you are in the South-South, South-East and North-Central, you are likely to get your card readers to be slowed by those APC operatives.
“We have seen the machines; we have interviewed some of those who have gone on this training, and we have passed that information to the campaign council to pass to you.
“But if you are from the North-West or North-East the tendency is that they will use these machines to fast-track the readings of your card readers so that many of their supporters can vote while disenfranchising the other three zones.
“I thought you should know that we have supplied the information to the campaign council and you will even see the copy of the machine which each and every one of those operatives is to hold. It is like a telephone but that is its job. I felt I should let you know, and you should be guided accordingly.”
The PDP flag bearer regretted the trouble Nigerians had to go through as a result of the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections, noting that the sacrifice was in furtherance of the nation’s democracy.
The former Vice President dismissed the democratic credentials of President Muhammadu Buhari who he said had never struggled for the entrenchment of democracy in the country.
He added: “When you people are talking about democracy, I have always said that Gen Muhammadu Buhari is not a Democrat, he has never been a Democrat.
“We started the fight to drive the military (away). He was never there, he never participated. You can see that he just wore the garb of democracy so that he can come back to power and do whatever he is doing.
“So, Gen Buhari is not a Democrat, he doesn’t believe in democracy, he is lip service, he is more of a power monger than a Democrat.”
The presidential flag bearer accused President Buhari of negating the values of democracy through his utterances and actions in recent times.
He noted: “My dear Nigerians, party men and women, I am sure that you have followed with interest, utterances from the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, and Gen Muhammadu Buhari in particular, which is a painful reminder of the era of dictatorship and military rule.
“Gen Buhari has consistently violated the constitution, he failed to uphold the rule of law. Recent instances include the unconstitutional suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria a day before he was supposed to inaugurate the committee for the election tribunals that will decide any appeals or whether our elections were subjected to manipulation, thereby crossing the immutable line that divides the executives from the judiciary.
“Alas, my concern does not end there. Only yesterday, Gen Buhari said and I quote, “the military and police should be ruthless. Anybody who disturbs the voting system will do so at his own risk.”
“It is shocking for any head of state to utter such words in a democracy and we shall not accept it from Gen. Buhari in this country. We have fought more ruthless dictators than himself.
“A precondition for free, fair and credible election is that the people are able to freely vote the candidate of their choice.
“You owe it to the people to let them give their verdict in the same way that you were elected. If you do so and if you win, then the people will commend you for it, but otherwise, history will condemn you for it. But before history does that, we will condemn you for it.”
The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, in his opening address, alleged that President Buhari was angry with that Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu because he has refused to implement the rigging plan of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
He said it was wrong for the president to described the electoral body as incompetent because of the decision to postpone election.
While noting that it was his administration that had demonstrated incompetence, the party boss, said the leaders of the APC were only grandstanding over the election postponement in an attempt to hoodwink Nigerians, as according to him, the federal government was in control of the electoral body.
He advised INEC to be sure to audit all materials that had been sent out and retrieved as a result of the postponement of the elections.
Secondus said: “Beloved party leaders, you may have been following the ranting of APC leaders since last Saturday, where they have been trying hard to extricate themselves from the mess that led to the postponement of the elections, but the more they try the more it became clearer that they were indeed a critical accomplice in the untidy outing of the electoral commission.
“While the APC Director of Planning and Election monitoring, who is the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Barr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, and the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiohmole struggled to turn the mess of last Saturday away from their party through their various utterances, they ended up exposing their involvement in a marriage that has gone sour. They still believe that they can deceive Nigerians into not recognizing crocodile tears from the real ones.”
In his remarks at the occasion, Senate President Bukola Saraki alleged that the APC is pushing for further postponement of the election.
According to him, all the ruling party did in its recent national Caucus meeting held on Monday was to explore that possibility.
Saraki said: “All that Nollywood at APC yesterday was because they are looking for another postponement. They don’t want the election to hold. We know they don’t want the election to hold on Saturday. By God’s grace, the man that will take us to promise land, Atiku Abubakar will win.
“INEC, they don’t want you to hold that election on Saturday. So, you must deliver for the sake of millions of Nigerians. You must make sure the election happens on Saturday. By God’s grace election will hold and we will win because we represent the interest of Nigerians.
“Like they say, when your time has come, it has come and no one can change it. Atiku Abubakar your time has come.”
The Senate President who is also the Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, was confident that Atiku would be elected the next president.
He stated: “Atiku Abubakar by the grace is going to be the next President of the federal republic of Nigeria. It is not by magic because Nigerians have gone through three and a half years of poverty, unemployment, insecurity.
“Then why are they surprised that they want a change? Nobody wants to be in poverty, nobody wants insecurity and nobody wants unemployment. That is why the message has resonated and they are panicking.
“But my message to them is that you won in 2015 because democracy was working in Nigeria. This democracy that worked for you, is to work for the generation yet on born. Do not ruin Nigeria democracy because of your ambition. Democracy is bigger than you and as such, it worked for you and it will also work for others.”
Also speaking, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara explained that the military was aware that the ‘unlawful’ order given by President Buhari cannot be obeyed.
“A lot of them know that unlawful order by the President cannot be obeyed. To kill a ballot snatcher is an unlawful order. I thought he would have said they will be dealt with in accordance with the law,” he said as he expressed optimism that President Buhari will lose the forthcoming presidential poll because “the masses are no longer with him.”
Among other party chieftains in attendance at the meeting were Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; former Senate President, David Mark; former minister of Special Duties, Kabir Tanimu Turaki; governor Gombe state, Ibrahim Dankwambo; governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom; governor of Kwara state, Abdulfatah Ahmed; former governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose; former governor of Niger state, Babangida Aliyu( former Katsina state governor, Ibrahim Shema, Senate Minority Leader, Biodun Olujimi and Senator Dino Melaye among others.
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