.Ahead Saturday polls, the federal government has said there’s last-minute plot by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to orchestrate a crisis and trigger a sense of panic among the populace.
Both the presidential and National Assembly elections will be held Saturday.
But the federal government said there were plans by the opposition to discredit the elections and cause a constitutional crisis.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said this in a statement issued in Abuja Tuesday.
The federal government had previously raised the alarm by the opposition’s plan to scuttle the election and, where that fails, discredit it.
Reiterating the position Tuesday, the minister said: “In the days ahead, PDP bigwigs, including its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, his running mate, Peter Obi, PDP governors and others, are planning a world press conference in order to level frivolous and unfounded allegations against the federal government and the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
He said, “Part of the false allegations they plan to make is that the Presidency, in connivance with the APC, is planning to force the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce presidential election results that are favourable to the government in power on the basis of the false premise that the APC’s intelligence team is worried that the ruling party would lose the elections.
“The PDP bigwigs also plan to use their world press conference to further disparage the Buhari administration as well as the ruling APC, with a view to painting an unfavourable image of both to Nigerians and the international community and to put the government on the defensive in the run-up to the polls.
“The PDP’s last joker is a two-hour live press conference to be addressed by the PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan, on Feb. 14th, the last day of electioneering campaign, to chronicle all their concocted allegations and lies against the ruling government, cast aspersion on government and ruling party officials and throw innuendos here and there.
”As electioneering campaign winds down, the PDP has realised that it cannot possibly win free, fair and credible polls. It has thus resorted to engaging in red herring, hauling insults and abuses at federal government and ruling party officials and making outlandish allegations with a view to creating a sense of panic and crisis.
”The truth is that President Muhammadu Buhari, a man respected globally for his integrity, has continuously assured that the elections will be free, fair, credible and peaceful. He has warmly welcomed observers, both local and foreign, because he has nothing to hide and because he is sure that the achievements of his administration will win him re-election.
”We are therefore calling on all Nigerians and the international community to disregard any attempt to scuttle or discredit the polls.
“We urge observers to keep an open mind. There is no cause for alarm, except in the warped imagination of the PDP which has entered the panic mode and is already ruing the loss of another general election even before it has been held.”
It’s false alarm –PDP
But the PDP has dismissed the federal government’s position, saying the APC-led government was raising false alarm and blackmail to sway Nigerians or help the ruling party’s plot to rig the polls.
PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan in a statement Tuesday said, “The Buhari Presidency’s fresh attempt to use its chief propagandist, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to lay further false allegations on the PDP has failed, because Nigerians already know those plotting to scuttle the elections by inciting violence and issuing death threats against others.
“What has Lai Mohammed to say to President Muhammadu Buhari, who in Zamfara state on Sunday, urged his supporters to get ready to fight and unleash violence on other Nigerians?
“What has Lai Mohammed to say to the threat by his party’s chieftain and Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el-Rufai, who declared that members of the global democratic institution working for peaceful election in our country will return to their countries in body bags?”
“Lai Mohammed has nothing to say to the Director General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, who raised a war chant and threatened Nigerians at the APC presidential rally in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.”
“It is clear to all that violence, death threats and plot to disrupt the elections have become an official policy of the Buhari Campaign Organisation having realised that President Buhari has no chance in the February 16 presidential election.
“Nigerians are all aware that the PDP is ready and working hard for this election. The people’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has been traversing the nooks and crannies of our country campaigning and receiving overwhelming support by Nigerians across the board, who have already reached a consensus to elect him as the next president of our country.”
He also said Nigerians should be at alert, “resist the alleged incitements of the APC, protect one another, insist that the presidential election must hold on February 16 and do all, within their legitimate rights to protect their votes to the very end.”