This conclusion was revealed by Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP’s national publicity secretary, following the party’s emergency expanded caucus meeting held in Abuja on Monday.
Ologbondiyan said the opposition party is equally determined to back Atiku Abubakar, its presidential candidate, in legally challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the election.
“Caucus commended Nigerians for refusing the harassment, intimidation and militarisation of the electoral process and participating in the elections but noted that the mandate that was freely given to our candidate was stolen and as such the party and the candidate jointly resolved to go to the tribunal and to see it through to the end of what is permissible within our legal system to get back our mandate on behalf of Nigerians,” said the party’s publicity secretary.
“Caucus further raised issues about the harassment, intimidation and the cajoling of our members on the plot by the Buhari presidency as well as the APC to intimidate Atiku and the resolve of the PDP to go to court by insisting, blackmailing and saying that he should not go to court. We insist that our party and our candidate have resolved to seek legal redress on the stolen mandate.”
Ologbondiyan said the South-South geopolitical zone was particularly militarised during the presidential election, and accused the APC of planning to rig the gubernatorial and Houses of Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday, March 9.
Uche Secondus, PDP’s national chairman, addressing members at the meeting, said the military’s involvement in elections is undemocratic, and said elections may not be conducted in 2023 if members of the military are still used at the polls to promote partisan political interests.
He also encouraged the electoral commission to make the second leg of the general elections is free, fair, and credible.
“On February 23, 2019, how will history judge you [Buhari]?” he asked. “How will the next generation judge you? In fact, there may not be election in 2023, it may just be announcement because if you have the military on your side, you do not need the people, you do not need to campaign. All you need to do is to put the figure on election day and announce. Is that what is going to happen again on March 9?”
“We appeal to the authorities especially our professional military men and women that this has never happened before. They must have a rethink,” he added.
“If they want to participate in politics, they are free to do so. I think it happened in Thailand where the military and civilians can contest and share offices. If our constitution is changed to contain that, it is a happy development but whereas the constitution says they are not part and parcel of the process, is that what is going to happen on March 9?”
“The son-in-law to our presidential candidate was arrested without justification; he has been detained and has not been released. His personal lawyer has been detained and the leaders of our country are keeping quiet; the Peace Committee is keeping quiet. Everyone here is keeping quiet.”
'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.