PDP to military: Election is not warfare  

Vows to resist intimidation

THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reminded the military that the coming election is just an opportunity for Nigerians to vote and not warfare.

This declaration followed the military’s expressed determination to carry out the order by President Muhammadu Buhari to deal ruthlessly with ballot box snatchers, a directive the main opposition party sees as a call to extra-judicial killings.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the Director of Strategic Communication of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Osita Chidoka, said the military must keep to the rules of engagement during the exercise.

The former Minister of Aviation said the party will resist intimidation and extra-judicial killings and has thus provided a telephone number for citizens to report such acts.

He said: “For those who may wish to dishonour our democracy, especially the Security Agencies, we use this opportunity to sound a note of caution. We are a constitutional democracy and all organs and agencies of government must abide by the established rules and laws of our land. We assure the security agencies that our members will remain peaceful, law-abiding and vigilant.

“However, we are fully prepared to resist intimidation, extrajudicial procedures and partisanship on the part of security agencies by reporting acts to the PDP national hotline 097 000 551 for onward broadcast to Nigerians and the World.

“We remind security agencies that it is only an election and not a war against Nigerians. The choice of language of the government and security Chiefs leaves us with the impression that the peaceful election of 2015 is not the model for 2019 election.

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“We call on the military, the police, and all other security agents to do their patriotic duty to the citizens of this great country, hold true to their legal mandate, display their commitment to the rule of law, act with restraint and in accordance to the law.  Regardless of party, our security forces serve and protect Nigeria and her citizens first.”

Chidoka observed that the present administration’s failure to improve and deepen the reforms of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “remains a sad reflection of its deeply ingrained maladministration that rejects institution building, transparency and displays an arrogant disrespect of legal and constitutional processes.”

He assured that the PDP’s presidential candidate and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar will commence the process of restoring the credibility and independence of INEC within the first 100 days in office in line with existing reports, whitepapers and international best practice.

Chidoka also assured that all government functionaries involved in the election and beyond that the Atiku’s government will not engage in witch hunts, persecution or score-settling.

“Our government will be guided by the rule of law, respect for human rights and embrace differences in opinion and approach. Our priority will be to unify the country and heal the divisions sowed over the past four years,” he stated.

He thanked Nigerians for their resilience and fortitude as they head into Saturday’s election, urging them to go out en masse to cast their vote during the exercise.

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