The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has said the party is ready to meet the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in court.
Atiku had at a press briefing where he rejected the result of the February 23 presidential election on Wednesday, indicated his intention to challenge it at the election petitions tribunal.
According to him, the election was manipulated in favour of the APC, saying voters in his strongholds were denied voting.
But in a response to the allegations, Oshiomhole at a press briefing on Thursday in Abuja said he was convinced that the election reflected the will of Nigerians despite pockets of violence recorded in some parts of the country.
He said it was sheer arrogance for Atiku to have said Nigeria’s future was tied to his presidency.
“Was he going to rule Nigeria against our wish? Citizens must hold their leaders accountable to their policy choices. Even, when he said if he would die, he would sell the NNPC; many people believed that he has collected deposit.
“It borders on arrogance for Atiku to suggest that our future is tied to his presidency. Atiku is destined never to be president of Nigeria. Leadership is about character. Atiku’s desperation is so obvious, so desperate that in 2003, he challenged his own boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, not to do a second term,” he said.
Oshiomhole said he deliberately refused to say the election was perfect because the APC was rigged, especially in the South-South in connivance with some INEC’s ad hoc staff and backed by some Resident Electoral Commissioners, whom he accused of working against the APC.
He said in one of the APC’s strongholds in his local government, INEC members of staff deliberately mutilated result sheets to the point that it was unacceptable and over 5,000 votes were cancelled in the process.
According to him, the REC rejected a request for a fresh tabulation to accommodate results collated from the polling unit level.
He said the manipulation allegedly aided by compromised INEC workers was responsible for the loss of the senatorial bid of Senator Godswill Akpabio.
He stated that his party had compiled several petitions to INEC on the irregularities.
Oshiomhole said, “Rather than Atiku saying that rigging has come to stay, and why the numbers don’t add up in the absence of massive rigging, I just think that he needs to be reminded the essence of our collective efforts with all those that I can describe as genuine friends of Nigeria, to improve the electoral process.
“We have petitions that we have written to INEC on how we were rigged out in Akwa Ibom State. It is interesting that it is the PDP that is complaining about the outcome of election in Akwa Ibom State.
“How do you explain that INEC cancelled so many units not only in Akwa Ibom State but many other states in order to be able to declare the PDP candidates as winners? That is how Senator Akpabio was rigged out in Akwa Ibom State.”
Oshiomhole wondered why Atiku had been moving from one party to another, describing him as an unstable politician.
He said the trend in the voting pattern from 1999 in the PDP strongolds had consistently reduced.
“He is such a political rolling stone. Does he think that Nigerians are so insane to think that a man who is not stable, whose interest is about himself and has confessed that he was going into the race to enrich his friends….that will be an impossible candidate to elect at a time like this. What gives him the sense of entitlement?”
“We are looking forward to meeting him (Atiku) in court. We will also have the opportunity of filing cross petition because in Adamawa State he had already lost the election before he did some magic that gave him that narrow victory and in many other parts of the country.
He added, “It is not about this election is perfect. It is about whether it substantially reflected the will of the people. The government has a duty to investigate every aspect of wrongdoing, record of violence, manipulation and kidnapping.
“If anybody was kidnapped, the affected official should take advantage of his freedom to lodge complaints with security agencies.
“Those responsible must be prosecuted. Until we begin to see people in jail for trying to manipulate the will of Nigerians by interfering in free and fair elections, we will keep on lamenting these incidences of various abuses.”
Buhari’s re-election, triumph of ordinary Nigerians over elite – FG
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has described Buhari’s electoral victory as the triumph of ordinary Nigerians over the nation’s elite.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the remarks in Abuja on Thursday when he received the management of his ministry, who came to congratulate him on the victory of the APC in last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Last weekend’s election is a direct contest between ordinary Nigerians and the elite, most of whom are rent seekers. Of course, the ordinary Nigerians have won!” he said.
Mohammed said the President’s victory was a confirmation of the fact that ordinary Nigerians appreciated the pro-people policies of the Buhari administration which, he said, was doing more with far less resources.
“Overall, this government is doing more with less and is restoring decency and integrity to governance. Like the New York Times said, ‘the re-election of President Buhari is a referendum on honesty’. There is no better way to put it,” he stated.
While reeling out the policies that endeared President Buhari to the ordinary Nigerians, the minister said under the Social Investment Programme, the government feeds 9.3 million schoolchildren every day and some 500,000 unemployed graduates were employed under N-Power, in addition to some 300,000 families, who he said were benefiting from
the Conditional Cash Transfer.
On the APC’s victory in Kwara, the minister thanked the management of his ministry for appreciating his ‘modest’ effort in delivering Kwara State from the grip of a crippling hegemony.