WITH barely a week to the presidential election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called on Nigerians to be prepared to use everything that is legitimate to defend their vote against rigging.
Making the call at a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary and Director, Media & Publicity PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, alleged of a series of designs by the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig the February 16 Presidential election, “having realized the consensus by Nigerians, across the board, to vote in the people’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as the next President of our country.”
He recalled that the PDP previously handed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a 48-hour ultimatum to make public the list of all officials and ad-hoc staff that will play any form of role in the February 16 Presidential election at all levels, for verification by stakeholders.
The party spokesman said the demand was predicated on its findings that the INEC leadership “in deferring to directives by Buhari Presidency and the APC” had collected lists of APC loyalists from APC state governors and candidates, across the federation to serve as electoral officials, including ad-hoc staff and returning officers at the polling units.
He added: “You will recall that upon our demand the APC openly directed INEC to ignore the PDP and go ahead with its compromised list. Shockingly INEC leadership appeared to have obeyed the APC ostensibly because of threats by the party’s to give its leadership the ‘Onnoghen treatment’ if it fails to comply.
“The world is already aware of how INEC has continued to allow the foisting of a relation of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs Amina Zakari, as the head of the INEC collation centre, where she is being positioned to alter results and allocate figures to President Buhari and the APC, in spite of the public outrage against such.
“This is in addition to how the Buhari Presidency has been importing mercenaries from Chad and Niger Republic to vote for President Buhari and to unleash violence in our country upon his eventual defeat.
“We had also alerted of plots to manipulate the smart card readers so as to substitute biometric accreditation with manual verification and pave way for mass rigging and allocation of fictitious votes for President Buhari.
“From the foregoing, it is clear to all that the Buhari Presidency and the APC are out to rig the election and that INEC is in clear deficit of the required will to conduct a credible, free and fair election.
“In the light of this, the PDP declares that it will never allow the Buhari Presidency, the APC as well as Amina Zakari to have their way against our nation.
“The entire world is aware that Nigerians have reached an irrevocable consensus on Atiku Abubakar as the next President of our country. This is why they are rallying with the people’s candidate. We are set for the election and we will resist every attempt to rig us out.”
Ologbodiyan said the party has resolved therefore to “unbridle, in full measure, all defence machinery legitimately available to us, including our numerical strength, in marching with millions of Nigerians across our nation to defend our votes, with the stiffest resistance, ever, against any infraction by the APC and the Buhari Presidency.”
He added: “In this regard, the PDP charges all its members and supporters, in their millions, to politically occupy and become extra vigilant by closely monitoring all electoral activities around their polling centres
“Our members and supporters are hereby directed to get prepared to arrive at their polling centres very early on the day of the election; monitor the activities of electoral officers, note all strange faces and resist any attempt by any alien or unregistered person to vote.
“Our members and supporters are further directed to remain at the polling centre after casting their votes, monitor the collation of result, use all means available to defend all our votes to the last and ensure that no result is altered.
“In this determination, the PDP is ready to confront the Buhari-controlled security forces and APC thugs, head to head, at all levels. For this, we charge our members and supporters to use every means available to them legitimately in a democracy to defend themselves and resist all acts of intimidation by the APC.”
The PDP charged all members and supporters to continue to be alert and await further directives ahead of the elections.