National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, on Saturday described as unfortunate a statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari that he could have used the military to undermine the integrity of the electoral process during the 2019 general election. Secondus said it was unbecoming for a president who claimed to have gotten majority of the votes in 2015 to insinuate compromising the integrity of his re-election in 2019. He stated that the statement by Buhari tended to give credence to allegations that his re-election in 2019 was via the military and the undermining of the democratic process.
In a related development, the Department of State Services (DSS) summoned former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba, over allegations of hate speech.
In an exclusive chat with THISDAY, Secondus stated, “What the president said was speaking the obvious truth; his utterances were confirming the basic truth known to all Nigerians. He used the military to retain power.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. The basic truth known to all Nigerians was that he used the military to retain power. He did not win the presidential election.”
The PDP national chairman said it was a sad commentary that Buhari could contemplate using security agencies to undermine the electoral process.
Secondus stated, “The presence of the military was more than the voters at the polling stations. Never before had military presence been felt at polling stations as was the case in the 2019 presidential election.”
He said Nigerians were aware that in the 2019 presidential election, such despotic and oppressive tactics were deployed to circumvent the electoral process and the wish of the citizens.
“As a party, the PDP hopes this is not a foreplay of what the APC and Buhari presidency are planning to exert in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections scheduled for September and October 2020, respectively?” he stated.
Secondus alleged that Nigerians witnessed the overrunning of Ekiti, Osun, Kogi, Bayelsa, and Kano states by APC during elections in those states, using compromised security officials and thugs.
In Kogi State, for instance, he alleged, a police helicopter was used to disperse the electorate, who were on the queue to perform their civic duties on Election Day. He also recalled that Mrs. Salome Abuh, a frontline PDP woman leader, was burnt to death by members of APC in the Kogi State election and till date, no member of the president’s party had been interrogated or arraigned for her murder.
Secondus said Nigerians had never witnessed the level of electoral impunity seen under the Buhari administration.
But the PDP chairman said the president must advise his party to allow INEC to carry out its responsibilities without interference in Edo and Ondo states.
A governorship aspirant on the platform of PDP in Delta State, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, also condemned Buhari’s statement on the 2019 elections as uncivil. Onuesoke stated that despite Buhari’s attempt to make Nigerians believe he did not use the military in the 2019 presidential election, the citizens were aware that such tactics were deployed. The former aspirant advised Nigerians to free themselves from the APC bondage and vote the party out in subsequent elections, beginning with the elections in Edo and Ondo states.
Meanwhile, no official reason was given for Na’Abba’s invitation to the DSS national headquarters at the time of filing this report. But it was widely believed that it might not be unrelated to his comments last week on the killings in Southern Kaduna.
A brief statement by the NCFront Head of Public Affairs Bureau, Dr. Tank Yususa, said, “Please, be notified that the DSS on Friday sent an invitation to NCFront co-chair and former Speaker of Nigeria, Rt Hon Ghali Umar Na’aba, after his very profound interview on Channels Television on Thursday with regard to the NCFront agenda to bring about a new Nigeria that works for all.
“However, our leader, Ghali Umar Na’aba, has decided to honour the DSS invitation and, therefore, shall be visiting the DSS headquarters in Abuja on Monday at 12noon. All NCFront organs, structures and allies nationwide are, by this notice, put on the alert as eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”