Text of a press conference by the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Ologbondiyan, on issues of urgent national importance in Abuja…on Tuesday.
Gentlemen of the press,
We have invited you today to address very critical issues of urgent national importance and to once again alert Nigerians of the heinous plot being hatched by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled Federal Government to further beguile the people and perpetrate more harm on our dear nation.
As you are aware, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been indicted for registering and issuing permanent voters card (PVCs) to millions of underage persons, particularly in Kano and Katsina states respectively.
You are also aware that it took a press statement from the PDP and concerted outcry by Nigerians before the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led commission reluctantly accepted responsibility for this illegality. However, INEC has refused to take decisive steps to restore the sanctity of its register, particularly in Kano and Katsina states, but has rather made a puerile explanation of plans to investigate the allegation.
As we speak, the credibility of our electoral process under the current INEC is hugely in doubt. The nation was last Wednesday terrified by the commission’s Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, who announced that INEC registered minors because its agents were threatened by members of the communities in those states.
By this alarming and unpatriotic statement, INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has completely discredited and disqualified itself and cannot be trusted to conduct a credible, free and fair general elections in 2019.
The import of this statement is that INEC under Prof. Yakubu is not firm in its acts and will consequently cave in and accept any form of irregularities once it is put under pressure by members of a voting community. It goes to say that this INEC can readily announce false results, cancel elections, alter polling procedures and allow any irregularities during the 2019 general elections once it is threatened by the All Progressives Congress (APC) or any other group for that matter.
If INEC is afraid of a voting community so much so that after registering minors, it still went ahead to process their data and issue them with valid voters card, then there is no way it can withstand the pressure and threat that we all know will be exerted by desperate APC forces, whose electoral strength, particularly in Kano and Katsina states, is now exposed to be based on underage voters.
Consequently, the PDP demands an immediate review of voters register, particularly in Kano and Katsina; we demand a revalidating the voters register to eliminate all the minors and insist that no election must hold in these states until the register is sanitized.
In order to achieve this, we demand that the revalidation/sanitization by INEC must be carried out under the supervision of all political parties, credible associations, reputable NGOs as well as the international community.
Also, the plan by INEC to ask EFCC to help them monitor campaign funds is clearly an illegal and Machiavellian way of suppressing opposition’s financial contribution and spending. It is a plot to detain, defame, intimidate and illegally block bank accounts of opposition members under the pretext that they have been mandated by INEC to monitor campaign funds.
It is trite law that ‘delegatus non potest delegare’. INEC and only INEC has the statutory duty to monitor campaign funds. The commission cannot delegate this function to any other government agency.
Nigerians have completely lost confidence in INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and we urge him to take the path of honour and do the needful before it becomes too late.
2. Manipulation of Performance Indices
In the same vein, we want to alert Nigerians and the international community of a heinous design now hatched by the desperate APC-controlled Federal Government to delude Nigerians on the true state of affairs of our nation, particularly on security and the comatose economy.
We have information that forces at the Presidency and the leadership of the APC, having failed to record any meaningful achievement in their three years of failed governance, and having realized that they have nothing on which to anchor their ill-lucked 2019 re-election bid, have mobilized their agents to commence the falsification of economic and development indices across all sectors, with a view to create a false sense of performance.
We are also privy to clandestine meetings and the engagement of certain unscrupulous Nigerians and foreign profiling firms, who have been heavily paid to fabricate, dish out and saturate our polity with fake performance indices and contrived polls in favour of the failed and incompetent Buhari-led Federal Government.
This face-saving stunt is being coordinated by a member of the cabal in the Presidency, alongside two prominent cabinet ministers and a top member of the APC.
As we speak, agents have infiltrated federal ministries and agencies with a view to inject fake performance figures, while the cabal is mounting pressure on statistics based organizations to manipulate performance indices in favour of the failed Presidency
In line with their design, in the next couple of months, the news media and the entire polity would be inundated with cooked-up indices, which will be well spiced up and heavily publicized to give unsuspecting Nigerians a false sense of hope and set the table for another round of electoral propaganda.
Part of this plot is to falsify figures to suggest sudden economic rebound, with false and unverifiable statistics in critical sectors, particularly, agriculture, youth empowerment, health, social safety nets, security among others to hoodwink the people.
There will also be frantic effort to lay claim on projects initiated and executed by the PDP; multiple commissioning of same projects like the railway project and the unmanned drone project in Kaduna state; awards of bogus contracts and procurement of international endorsements.
Our take is that this resort to falsehood has clearly shown the depravity of the APC in the face of its failure. Such a trip is practically of no moment as Nigerians are now better informed and cannot be swayed by imported indices and fabricated statistics.
We however wish to use this opportunity to alert the media, all Nigerians and the international community to, in the interest of our people, crosscheck all figures and indices coming from the Presidency, the APC and uncertified profiling agencies, who are being used by the Federal Government in this new attempt to deceive.
3. Government Impunity
We also want to inform Nigerians of the intolerance trend adopted by APC and its government in some states that are now demolishing property belonging to opposition members and perceived opponents of their 2019 re-election bid.
This morning, Kaduna state governor Nasir el-Rufai was reported to have detailed bulldozers and armored tanks to demolish a property belonging to Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi perceived to be against his 2019 re-election bid.
In Adamawa, the state government has pulled down billboards and signposts belonging to opposition parties while harassing our members and perceived political opponents ahead of President Buhari state visit.
In January this year, Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima superintended over the demolition of PDP state secretariat in Maiduguri following the renewed popularity of our party in the state.
In Kogi, a property belonging to Senator Dino Melaye, who is known for his criticism of the APC derailed government, has been marked for demolition.
Today, despite our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of association and speech, Nigerians now live in fear of this intolerant, overbearing, bigoted and dictatorial APC administration seeking to foist a fascist regime on our country.
How do we explain or justify the evil plan of APC-led Federal Government to monitor citizens’ phone calls and social media communication purportedly to check for hate speeches without any enabling law. We advice the APC government to desist from this planned unconstitutionality, which threatens the very essence of democracy especially plurality of opinions.
It is on this note that the PDP raises a rallying cry to all well-meaning Nigerians, civil society organizations and the international community to rise up and collectively condemn the anti-people actions and proclivities of this incompetent and imperious government, which has brought so much pain to our dear nation.
National Publicity Secretary