The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed concern over President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to security agencies to be ruthless to anyone who try to snatch ballot boxes in the forthcoming elections.
The party expressed the concern in statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Monday in Abuja.
The party described the directive as a “direct call for jungle justice, attempt to divert public attention from the APC’s plot perfected elections rigging and political violence.”
Mr Buhari, speaking during the emergency national caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday in Abuja, warned that anybody who snatches ballot boxes during the forthcoming elections, would do that at the risk of his or her life.
Mr Ologbondiyan, who alleged that the directive was a threat to the lives of Nigerians, expressed hope that it was not a camouflage for mobilised fake soldiers to shoot at innocent Nigerians, snatch ballot boxes and execute the APC’s rigging plans.
“It is indeed a license to kill, which should not come from any leader of any civilized nation,” he said.
He said the resort to threats would not deter Nigerians from coming out en-masse to vote APC out of office on February 23.
“Intelligence available to us shows that the Presidency has directed the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately reshuffle the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in order to deploy compromised officials to manipulate the electoral process in President Buhari’s favour, as they did with the Police shortly before February 16.
“Our party is also aware of the pressure being mounted by the presidency on INEC to cancel elections in some states and make others inconclusive so as to achieve the objectives of a staggered election not minding the crisis such will trigger across the federation,” he said.
Mr Ologbondiyan, however, said Nigeria was bigger than anyone and that Nigerians would never allow the APC to rig the election.
Mr Buhari had said he did not expect anybody to make any disturbance.
“I have briefed the law enforcement agencies and the military to identify hot-spots and flash-points. They should be prepared to move. They too would have made their own arrangements as possible.
“And anybody who decides to snatch ballot boxes or lead thugs to disturb it, maybe that would be the last unlawful action he would take. I have directed the police and the military to be ruthless.
“We are not going to be blamed that we want to rig elections. I want Nigerians to be respected, let them vote whoever they want across the parties. I’m not afraid.
“As you said, I have gone round all the 36 states and Abuja. I think I have gotten enough support across the country.
“I’m going to warn anybody who thinks, he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system, he would do it at the expense of his own life,” Mr Ologbondiyan quoted Mr Buhari as saying.