• Why opposition is jittery of Buhari’s threat – Presidency
• Atiku insists APC clueless, incompetent
By Lawrence Olaoye and Ali Alkali, Abuja
The Acting Inspector General of Police (Ag. IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has warned that the police would not allow ballot snatching, vote buying and thuggery at the oncoming general elections.
Briefing newsmen after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Adamu said, “Today, members of the security community and intelligence community came and briefed Mr. President on the security situation in the country.
“We deliberated on the consequences and came up with the resolve to further provide adequate security within the country so that the electorates will come out and cast their votes without any fear of molestation.
“Every Nigerian is encouraged to come out on the Election Day and cast his or her vote without any fear of molestation. The security personnel are ready and prepared to protect everybody. Anybody that feels that he can come out and disrupt process should have a rethink because that situation will not be allowed. If you plan and allow yourself to be used as touts, whatever happens to you, you will take
it. Ballot snatching, ballot buying, thuggery will never be allowed. Anybody that is planning to snatch ballot boxes or planning to be used as a tout, will have his or herself to blame on the Election Day.
“So you better don’t allow yourself to be used.”
The Presidency has said that the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was because President Muhammadu Buhari was not ready to tolerate their antics during general elections.
Presidential Media Office, in a statement, quoted the Senior Special Assistant to Buhari on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, saying that the PDP’s vehement condemnation of President Buhari’s declaration had shown their intention ahead of the polls.
He wondered why the PDP has suddenly become the defenders of prospective ballot box snatchers.
He said, “This sounds like members of the opposition, specifically the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who have perfected plans to rig the elections and to snatch ballot boxes. They can tell that President Buhari is not prepared to tolerate their antics this time around, and they are afraid. They have shown their intent.”
While reiterating the President’s comment that anyone who dares to snatch ballot boxes during next weekend’s elections will be doing this for the last time, saying it should be seen as a strong message against the long history of savagery associated with elections in the country, Shehu recalled some past elections in parts of Nigeria, during which innocent voters lost their lives while ballot boxes were being snatched by armed thugs.
He said, “Snatching ballot boxes often entails putting the lives of innocent Nigerians at risk. About 10 years ago, evidence was brought before an election tribunal from one of the states in North Central of the gruesome killing of 26 prospective voters by ballot box snatchers. Their modus operandi is well known. They storm election venues in commando style, overwhelm the law-enforcement agents and seize ballot boxes leaving a trail of death and injury.”
According to him, “Anyone who dares to put the lives of innocent citizens at risk in their desperation to rig elections, must be prepared for the possibility of losing their own lives because our security agents will certainly not stand by, clap for them and watch them kill and maim.”
He added that President Buhari had the safety and security of Nigerians uppermost in mind when he made the comment, and should be praised rather than criticized for issuing this stern warning to potential ballot box snatchers.
Shehu further expressed concern about those attacking the president’s comment, and their worry over the fate of anyone caught snatching ballot boxes.
The presidential spokesperson noted that no one had anything to fear from the President’s comments if their conscience and intentions are clear.
“Let’s just have free and fair elections and no one need worry about anything,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had lambasted the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and described its administration as clueless and incompetent despite being in office for four years.
Atiku fired at the APC during the PDP’s NEC meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
He said, “Our goal is not to gain power for our own sake, but for the people of our country who have been so hard hit by four years of APC cluelessness and incompetence.”
According to Atiku, the APC years are “Four years which have seen 14 million more of our people without jobs, more of our people killed than ever before and more of our people living in extreme poverty than any other nation on this planet.
“The feedback from our supporters throughout the country confirmed their desire and willingness to entrust their destiny to us as a viable alternative to their hopelessness.
“However, it now appears that our participatory democracy which we have enjoyed for 20 years, which empowers our citizens to decide who leads them, is under threat. You will recall that during the Peace Accord process, I stated in clear terms, quoting former President Goodluck that “my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.”
“Today, I call on President Buhari, to make that same commitment to the people whose mandate he holds, while also urging all security agencies to uphold our constitution with an understanding that voting is a civil activity and civic responsibility.”