Ben Peters, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of attempting to bully, blackmail and influence the judiciary and the outcome of the petition pending before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal by his comment while receiving members of APC Progressive Governors Forum on Thursday.
Buhari had said while the All Progressive Congress (APC) was working hard to retain power in the recent elections, the combined opposition was a victim of overconfidence – the main reason he believed they lost.
Buhari spoke at his residence in the State House where he received the Progressive Governors Forum led by their Chairman, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.
The President said, “They were already telling their foreign backers that they would defeat the APC. Our party blended confidence with caution, we worked hard and won. Now, their overconfidence is creating more problems for the opposition than anyone else. They are finding it hard to convince those who supported them from the outside why they are unable to beat us.
“A combination of overconfidence, complacency, and bad tactical moves made them lose, plain and clear. This has created more problems in their camp. Why did they fail to remove us,” he asked.
The PDP further alleged that Buhari made the comment “so as to allow his Party, the APC and its candidate to “grab, snatch and run” with the people’s mandate”.
But speaking during a press conference on Friday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, said the PDP did not lose the Presidential election as claimed by President Buhari and “we are not willing to surrender the mandate freely given to our Party by the people irrespective of the threats, bullying and manipulation by the APC-led administration.
He said Buhari statement revealed the utter disregard he has for the nation’s Constitutional democracy, judiciary and the Will of the Nigerian people as expressed at the February 25, 2023 Presidential election.
According to him, it is, to say the least, reprehensible for Mr. President to posture and gloat over the trampling of the Will of Nigerian, blame the opposition for being overconfident and, according to him, for not being “tactical”, perhaps enough to outwit the violence, brutality, threats, suppression of voters, rigging and election manipulations by the APC and the government which he heads.
“It is unpardonable that President Buhari, who swore to uphold the laws of our country and made several commitments to the world to ensure free, fair, credible and transparent election, is rather in approval of election rigging through manifest compromise of INEC system and wide-spread alteration, falsification and switching of election results in favour of his rejected party, the APC.”
Ologunagba added, “Nigerians believed and expected President Buhari to leave a legacy of a free, fair and credible election based on his numerous undertakings and promises but he is leaving an ignoble, dishonorable and disgraceful legacy of enabling and superintending over the worst election conducted in the history of democracy in Nigeria. President Buhari, history will never be kind to you.”
He said that President Buhari, by his subjudice statement is clearly interfering in electoral process ostensibly to influence the outcome and undermine the constitutionally laid down procedures for change of government.
“Having clearly undermined democracy in Nigeria, the PDP calls on the International Community to accordingly impose sanctions including Visa ban and travel restrictions on President Buhari and his family immediately he vacates office on May 29, 2023.
“This demand for sanction is in line with President Buhari’s request on February 17, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium, wherein he called on the European Union (EU) to impose “weighty sanctions” on those engaged in “unconstitutional change of governments” as well as those influencing the “process and outcomes of elections”.
In President Buhari’s words, “We also call for stronger support from the European Union in the condemnation and imposition of weighty sanctions on countries that engage in unconstitutional change of governments as well as manipulation of constitutions…
“It is therefore imperative for our partnership to also focus on strengthening election processes in Africa and prevent interference to influence the process and outcomes of elections…”
He called for an open investigation into the roles played by President Buhari in the undermining of democracy in Nigeria in the 2019 and 2023 Presidential elections, adding that Buhari need to be advised to be circumspect and allow the judicial process to proceed without further undue interference and bullying by him.