The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday insisted that its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, won the Feb. 23 presidential election, alleging his mandate was “stolen.”
The party vowed to petition the United Nations (UN) and other global democratic institutions over the role the military played during the presidential and legislative polls which it said led to killings in some parts of the country.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, made this known at the end of an expanded caucus meeting held at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.
He also said the caucus resolved to support Abubakar and the PDP in their resolve to contest the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC as the winner of the election at the tribunal.
“Caucus commended Nigerians for refusing the harassment, intimidation and militarization of the electoral process and participating in the elections but noted that the mandate that was freely given to our candidate was stolen and as such the party and the candidate jointly resolved to go to the tribunal and to see it through to the end of what is permissible within our legal system to get back our mandate on behalf of Nigerians.
“Caucus further noted the role of the military in the February 23 elections and resolved that we will report the action of the military through a petition to the United Nations as well as other global democratic institutions on the role of our military in the February 23 elections.”
The party’s presidential candidate had rejected the result of the poll as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC had declared President Buhari as the winner of the election and returned him as duly elected.
President Buhari, according to the electoral body, scored 15,191,847 votes. Mr Abubakar garnered 11,262,978 votes to finish as runner-up.
But in his response to the declaration, the PDP candidate said the result was unacceptable to him and that he would challenge it in court.
Mr Ologbondiyan while briefing also said the caucus reviewed the situation in Kano State particularly as it concerned the court decision that the PDP should organise a fresh rerun for its governorship candidate.
The party noted that an appeal had been filed against the judgement and it will continue to study and follow the situation as they arise. Ologbondiyan also said the South-South geopolitical zone had been militarised, adding that the APC was also plotting to rig the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.
“Caucus further raised issues about the harassment, intimidation and the cajoling of our members on the plot by the Buhari presidency as well as the APC to intimidate Atiku and the resolve of the PDP to go to court by insisting, blackmailing and saying that he should not go to court.”
“We insist that our party and our candidate have resolved to seek legal redress on the stolen mandate.”
On why the meeting was not attended by some notable members including state governors, Ologbondiyan said most of the governors were busy with campaigns ahead of Saturday’s elections.
He added that they sent apologies for their inability to attend the meeting.
Speaking earlier at the meeting, the national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus said there might be no election in 2023 if the military continued to participate during elections as they were allegedly used during the February 23 elections.
He stated that the involvement of the military in the elections was undemocratic and unconstitutional.
He said they were committed to going to the tribunal, adding that they might file the case on Tuesday.
According to him, it is surprising that the National Peace Committee had allegedly kept silent over the alleged intimidation and harassment of Mr Abubakar, his acquaintances and some PDP stalwarts.
He urged INEC to ensure that Saturday’s elections were free, fair, transparent and credible.
“On February 23, 2019, how will history judge you (Buhari)? How will the next generation judge you? In fact, there may not be election in 2023, it may just be announcement because if you have the military on your side, you do not need the people, you do not need to campaign. All you need to do is to put the figure on election day and announce. Is that what is going to happen again on March 9?”, he asked.
Secondus urged the military to remain professional in the discharge of their duties, adding that they must not allow themselves to be used by politicians.
“We appeal to the authorities especially our professional military men and women that this has never happened before. They must have a rethink.”
“If they want to participate in politics, they are free to do so. I think it happened in Thailand where the military and civilians can contest and share offices. If our constitution is changed to contain that, it is a happy development but whereas the constitution says they are not part and parcel of the process, is that what is going to happen on March 9?”
“The son-in-law to our presidential candidate was arrested without justification; he has been detained and has not been released. His personal lawyer has been detained and the leaders of our country are keeping quiet; the Peace Committee is keeping quiet. Everyone here is keeping quiet.”
Secondus alleged that Mr Buhari had unleashed a full-blown dictatorship on Nigerians.
He said he was hopeful of God’s intervention, adding that with the collective efforts of the people, “Nigeria would be rescued”.