The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has said the All Progressives Congress, APC, has begin to orchestrate plans to disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general election.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, at a press conference on Wednesday, part of the plot has seen facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, come udner attacks nationwide.
The PDP blamed the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for the attacks which it said was a result of his speech given to APC members in London.
The statement from the conference read, “Gentlemen of the Press, we have called you today to through you alert Nigerians and the International Community of plots by enemies of democracy to frustrate and ultimately disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
“We alert Nigerians that in compliance with the directive by the Presidential Candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to his party members to deploy violence and snatch power in the 2023 general elections, the APC, having realised that it has been rejected, has commenced its violent attacks to frustrate the conduct of the elections.
“Nigerians can recall how the deflated and desperate Tinubu, in a closed-door meeting in London earlier this month, declared to his members that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte. It is what we are doing; It is being determined; you do it at all cost; fight for it, grab it, snatch it and run with it”.
“In response to this directive, APC leaders and members have now activated plots to derail the electoral process through orchestrated violent attacks in various states of the country aimed to trigger a nationwide security emergency situation, instill fear and make it appear inconducive to conduct elections in the country.
“Part of the plot is the current attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission in various parts of the country as witnessed in Ogun, Osun and Imo States where sections critical to the conduct of elections particularly those connected to the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) were targeted and destroyed.
“Also, our party has been made aware of plans by the APC to orchestrate attacks in other states particularly Kogi and Delta; some states of the South-East as well as parts of the North with the view to subverting the electoral process in as many states as possible.
“Intelligence available to our party indicates that the attack on INEC facilities is to prevent newly registered voters from collecting their PVCs; destroy the PVC’s so that they will not be available for collection in INEC offices, and thirdly, destroy INEC equipment and cripple its capacity to conduct elections.
“In addition, the APC has introduced a very disturbing dimension of “purchasing” PVCs from unsuspecting Nigerians through monetary inducement masquerading as empowerment programmes.
“In any case our Party is not surprised at the resort to violence by Tinubu and the APC; a clear acceptance of electoral defeat which apparently accounts for the APC’s Presidential Candidate’s decision to boycott the signing of the National Peace Accord by Presidential Candidates in the 2023 elections.
“It is apparent and disturbing that the APC Presidential Candidate has not issued any caution against the many acts of violence linked to members of his party. His body language and comments suggest the condoning of the ongoing violence on our electoral process.
“Of course, the London meeting where Tinubu directed his party members to unleash violence on Nigerians was a closed-door event which inadvertently leaked to the public. The aim of the APC was to hit our nation with violence and mislead security agencies to direct their investigation on criminal elements and social restiveness, instead of the real culprit, the APC.
“The design it to create tension across the country to validate a narrative that elections cannot hold, then orchestrate a Constitutional crisis with a view to justifying a shifting of the elections and perpetuate certain APC elements in office beyond May 29, 2023.
“The alarm raised by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on the several attacks on INEC’s facilities as widely reported in the media further confirms our fears.
“According to the INEC Chairman, “Since the 2019 general elections, up till 2022, we have recorded 50 attacks in 15 States of the federation, but the ones we recorded in 2022 are the ones we consider as systematic and coordinated and these are the ones that are targeted at derailing the preparations of the Commission from conducting a free, fair, transparent and credible elections.
““If these attacks go into January and February, it may be difficult for us to recover from these attacks. This is because if you look at Section 134 of the Constitution, it has threshold that a candidate must meet before that candidate can be declared winner of any election”.
“The PDP therefore alerts the security agencies to take immediate steps to investigate and stop the APC on its vicious plot to derail our democratic process.
“The INEC should immediately invoke its regulatory powers and impose sanctions on the APC Presidential Candidate for constituting a clear and present danger to the electoral process. Our Party also calls on the International Community to impose strict sanctions including travel restrictions on APC leaders found culpable of instigating and encouraging violence in the electoral process.
“The PDP again demands that President Muhammadu Buhari should call Asiwaju Tinubu and his Party members to order so that Nigerians can peacefully choose their next President through a free, fair, transparent and credible electoral process.
“The choice of who becomes the President of Nigeria rests on the Will of the people through the free exercise of their votes and the APC Presidential Candidate should come to terms with the resolve of Nigerians to vote in the PDP Candidate, Atiku Abubakar as the next President.
“Asiwaju Tinubu must accept the fact that Atiku Abubakar, is more popular and possess the competence, requisite experience, presence of mind, mental alertness, physical stamina and political will that Nigerians earnestly yearn for in a leader at this critical time.
“We therefore call on Nigerians not to succumb to the proclivities of the APC but remain resolute in defending our democratic process and rallying with the PDP in our mission to Rescue, Rebuild and Redirect our nation from the suffocating government of the APC. “