By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to walk his talk in ensuring that there is free, fair and credible general election in 2019, even as it lamented that vote buying has become a dangerous trend in Nigerian politics.
Speaking to journalists yesterday in Abuja during the 2018 annual political summit organized by the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), in conjunction with the Nigeria Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), and European Union (EU), the National Director of Publicity for APGA, Ifanacho Oguejiofor, described the summit is a positive step.
He said it is not just enough for the President to assure political parties that there will be credible, free and fair elections next year, but that he should walk the talk by putting necessary measures on ground to make it happen. He said the Ekiti election, and the National Assembly bye elections held recently were not free and fair, as votes were bought as a commodity in open market.
While urging the federal government to investigate the alleged discovery of Permanent Voters Cards in the House of the former Director General of Department for State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, Oguejiofor said those who are ready to serve should be selfless, while those who are coming for their personal benefits should be discouraged, urging INEC to ensure that 2019 politics is played by the rules.
Commending IPAC and other partners for the summit, he said given what is happening in the country today, there is no doubt that the country is heading towards danger, hence there is need for such summit to enable politicians brainstorm on how to deescalate tension and ensure that there is peaceful and united Nigeria after the election.
According to Oguejiofor, the tension has spiraled into other sectors, including economy, which he said has heated up the polity, and can degenerate into serious political crisis. He expressed fear over the level of hate speeches going on across the country, in addition to the crisis arising from inter and intra party disharmony.
“Check the Peoples Democratic Party, check the All Progressives Congress, people are decamping from one party to the other, without losing the mandate that the people gave them. Instead of relinquishing that mandate, they still hold on to it, even after defection.
“This negative development in our polity derail our political development from maturing the way it should. That is why I said this peace initiative is a welcome development, so that it will be able to bring our conscience to the reality that whether we like it or not, this is the only country that we have”, the APGA Director said.
To this end, the APGA warned politicians to know that if they kill the country, there is no other place to run to, hence he argued that if they allow the tension to come down, and ensure that there is internal party democracy, it will help to ensure that there is free and fair election in 2019.
“If we choose to do it the way we have been doing it before, by approaching the elections as a do or die affair, the dog and the baboon will be soaked in the blood, because everybody is almost saying if not me, the center should not hold, which is selfish. So this summit is telling us that we should put the nation first”, he said.