THE Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) of illegally deploying state resources for his re-election campaign contrary to the claims made by the president.
The former Vice President said in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by Paul Ibe, his media adviser, said the action is in flagrant violation of the Constitution.
The statement read: “Contrary to their claims, President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress are flagrantly violating the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended by their unbridled deployment of state resources and apparatuses for the 2019 presidential campaign.
“Recall that the National Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu had in December of last year warned incumbent officeholders against using state resources or apparatuses for their campaigns, or deploying same against their opponents.
“Prof Yakubu, who issued the warning at a lecture titled “Political corruption and other emerging issues for the 2019 elections” in Abuja, noted that the commission has the power to monitor campaign financing and sources of funds according to the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
“However, in the negation of the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, the Buhari administration and the APC has taken to the illegal deployment of state resources to its advantage for the election.
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“We wish to remind President Buhari and the APC that the use of state videos released by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture is illegal under the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
“The media is awash with advertisements with the hashtag #PMBDIDIT and signed by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and referencing so-called achievements of the APC administration in the states of Abia, Kwara, Lagos, Ebonyi, Delta and Kano, among others. These are without doubt 2019 presidential campaign materials produced by the Ministry of Information and Culture using state resources and apparatuses to benefit President Buhari.
“This appalling conduct, which is clearly in violation of Section 100 of the Electoral Act, is even more shocking when it is recalled that the state resources being used to the illegal advantage of President Buhari are being drawn from agencies which for over three years prior to this election failed to perform their duties to the benefit of Nigerian citizens. The Ministry of Information and Culture must stop this illegality immediately.”
Atiku demanded that INEC issues an immediate cease and desist order to both the Ministry of Information and Culture and to the broadcast channels running it.
He also insisted that the electoral body should register the media spend behind it as part of the APC’s total N1 billion campaign spend limit.
“Fortunately, INEC is alert to this danger and itself warned the ruling party to refrain from such conduct. Now that the party has clearly flouted the law in the negation of the electoral umpire’s warning, we urge that INEC sanctions them accordingly,” the statement declared.
Meanwhile, the PDP Presidential Campaign Council has accused the APC and the Police of fomenting crises and violent attacks against its members and cautions that Nigerians may no longer continue to tolerate such incendiary acts ahead of the elections.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday bu Kola Ologbondiyan, Director, Media & Publicity of the organization, PDPPCO particularly condemned in totality, Wednesday’s “unwarranted attack and use of brute force, including firing of tear gas by the Police against thousands of law-abiding members of the PDP in Gumel, Jigawa state, on instigation of agents of Buhari Presidency and the APC to forcefully stop our rally in the state.”
The PPCO equally condemned “the unprovoked invasion and violent attack on the Ondo state campaign office of the PDP presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku, by armed thugs sponsored by the APC
The statement added: “This is in addition to series of other attacks by the APC and the police, including arresting and detaining our members on trumped-up charges, as well as pulling down our campaign materials in various states of the federation.
“It is now clear that the Buhari Presidency, having realized that their smear campaigns against our party and Presidential candidate cannot change the resolve by Nigerians to rally behind our Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has now resorted to physically attacking and unleashing violence against our members.
“We know that the Buhari Presidency had to deploy brute force to disrupt our rally in Jigawa state when it realized that the rally will amplify and reinforce President Buhari and APC’s rejection, particularly in their supposed stronghold, the North West.
“Police now have the order to harass, intimidate and unleash violence on our members in a bid to intimidate and instil fear in our people across the nation
“This informed the ferociousness exhibited by the police in the Jigawa attack where many PDP members were manhandled, injured and traumatized by armed policemen despite the fact that our party obtained official permission from the Police and the Directorate of State Services (DSS) for the rally.
“Moreover, we have it on good authority that the attack on our Presidential campaign office in Ondo was coordinated by the APC, which is now in frenetic mode over the soaring popularity of our party and Presidential candidate in the South West geo-political zone
The PPCO invited Nigerians and the international community to note “this dangerous dimension, which holds an ominous sign that the 2019 election is already under siege by the Buhari Presidency and the APC, who have now listed the Police as an instrument of terror against Nigerians. “
It argued that the APC and Buhari Presidency is putting security agencies, particularly, the police, on a collision course with the citizens and “this portends great danger to our democracy and corporate existence as a nation, as Nigerians will never succumb to any instrument of intimidation.”
The PPCO urged President Buhari “to come to terms with the fact that Nigerians are fed up with his incompetent, corrupt and anti-people administration. They now prefer Atiku Abubakar as their next President and no amount of brutality, intimidation and violence against the people will change their resolve.”