The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Oyegun, on Wednesday, alleged that President Goodluck Jonathan plans to extend the state of emergency in the three insurgent-ravaged North-Eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, so elections would not hold in those states.
He said by that action, about five million people in the states would be disenfranchised and the president’s re-election bid a foregone conclusion.
The president has requested the National Assembly to approve the extension of the emergency rule in the three states.
Mr. Oyegun, who made the allegation at the APC ‘Salvation’ rally in Abuja, said Mr. Jonathan daily engaged in idle talks about a total war on Boko Haram, but wondered what the government had been doing since the first time emergency rule was imposed in the states.
He also wondered if the president renewed the emergency rule several times only to cage the civil populace so that the insurgents could have a free rein.
“Without doubt, the war against Boko Haram has become a tool for self-enrichment and a tool to disenfranchise Nigerians who are perceived not likely to vote for President Jonathan’s re-election,” Mr. Oyegun said.
“Everything points to the fact that President Jonathan’s handling of the Boko Haram insurgency is aimed at one thing and one thing only: disenfranchisement of persons who are perceived not to be in support of his re-election, especially in the North-Eastern part of the country.
“Is it not curious that Mubi was captured without one shot being fired by the insurgents or one single casualty on the part of federal troops? As a matter of fact, we have it on good authority that as soon as President Goodluck Jonathan obtains the green light from the National Assembly, there will be no elections in the North-Eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. By this singular act, some five million Nigerians will be disenfranchised, making Jonathan’s re-election a foregone conclusion.”
The APC national chairman stated that there was no limit to the length Mr. Jonathan would go in his obsession for re-election and cited the kidnap of Chibok girls; saying it has now been used as pawns on his political chessboard.
According to him, on October 17, the president “cruelly played on the emotions and sensibilities of all Nigerians, especially the families, relations and associates of the kidnapped girls, when he asked his Chief of Defence staff to falsely announce that Boko Haram has agreed to a ceasefire and that the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls was just a matter of days.”
Mr. Oyegun claimed “Mr. Jonathan and his cohorts knew this to be false but he needed to deceive Nigerians so as to prepare their minds for his eventual declaration for re-election.”
He said in the president’s desperation to win, there appeared to be a secret understanding that the nation’s security forces should turn a blind eye to Boko Haram insurgency so that the insurgents could take as much territory as possible and make elections impossible in the areas knowing full well that they are APC stronghold.
Mr. Oyegun also alleged that the recent distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, and continuous registration in 12 states was a fiasco.
He said the official explanation of computer error from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is a farce.
“But we know this is a lie. The truth of the matter is that the ICT unit of INEC, which is working hands in gloves with the Presidential villa, deliberately corrupted the system in order to disenfranchise voters in APC controlled states,” he said.
“How else do you explain the fact this same exercise, which had gone fairly well in 24 other states – mostly PDP states – is now a fiasco in Lagos, Kano Rivers, Niger, Ogun, Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara all APC strongholds and with the highest number of registered voters?”
Mr. Oyegun said in those states, millions of voters had already been disenfranchised because the system was deliberately corrupted to wipe out their names from the voters register.
According to him, even those who were able to vote in 2011 could no longer find their names on the register.
The APC national chairman said the PDP had realized the overwhelming support and followership which the APC now enjoyed in those states, the ruling party had deliberately decided to use the ICT department of INEC to rig the 2015 general elections at source by disenfranchising millions of the opposition party’s supporters.
On the austerity measures announced by the Federal Government at the weekend, Mr. Oyegun argued that given the difference between the selling price of the country’s crude in the international market of an average of $108 and the bench mark price of $78 in the last three years, the government should today have close to $50billion in Excess Crude Account, ECA.
“But as a result of corruption and arbitrary manipulation of the account, today the government has declared that there is just three billion dollars (US$3 billion) in this account,” he said.
Mr. Oyegun also said that another pointer that Mr. Jonathan would not allow a free and fair election in 2015 is the reckless use of the police and the military in past elections in Ekiti and Osun states as well as the humiliating treatment meted out by the police to Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
“The Nigeria police have today become the armed wing of the PDP and they cannot be trusted under President Jonathan to be unbiased umpire in the February 2015 elections,” he claimed.
Mr. Oyegun called for an end to the raging insurgency that is daily killing and maiming our compatriots; the impunity that permeates the Jonathan Administration; and the massive corruption that has left our compatriots impoverished in the midst of plenty.”
He also called for unambiguous effort to ensure that 2015 elections would be free and fair.
Mr. Oyegun said the rally was the first stage of occupation of Abuja, and just a warning shot. According to him, the rally was a practical demonstration of the party’s lack of confidence in the ability or willingness of Mr. Jonathan to organize a free and fair election next year.
The national chairman of the APC, warned, “If we do not see any discernible change of attitude on the part of the government, then we will move to the next stage on the list of actions that our party intends to take to stop the rot being perpetuated by the PDP-led Federal Government
“We are therefore using this opportunity to alert Nigerians and the international community to what is undoubtedly a set of carefully-set booby traps on the path to free and fair elections next year.”
“It is time to give the Federal Government of President Goodluck Jonathan a public warning. It was also to call the attention of the people of this country of the grave danger into which our nation is being dragged by the government of President Jonathan.
“This is a warning. This is a tip of the iceberg, the first of APC rally to warn the FG to call the attention of the people of this nation to the dangers ahead,” Mr. Oyegun said.
He also told the international community that it is not enough to rush to declare any election free and fair on Election Day.
“We say election is a process, hence they must show interest in all the pre-election events leading up to the Election Day,” he said.