There are plans to rig next year’s presidential election for President Muhammadu Buhari to remain in power at all cost, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleged yesterday.
PDP wondered why President Buhari is yet to constitute a campaign council or develop a clear-cut campaign blueprint 61 days to the election.
The main opposition party said Mr. President and his All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to set up a campaign structure because they were banking on plots to manipulate the electoral process.
A statement by PDP spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan said it was clear that President Buhari had been overwhelmed.
The statement said: “All over the world, patiotic and obligated leaders, who are seeking (re-) elections, go to the electorate to canvass for votes with their messages and solutions. But our President and the APC have been busy procuring phony endorsements, harassing and intimidating opposition leaders, compromising the electoral body to create illegal voting centres, delaying election budgets and holding the process to ransom by refusing to sign amendments to the Electoral Act that eliminate avenues for rigging.
“President Buhari, who is already reputed to have wrecked our once robust economy, crippled our critical sectors, entrenched corruption at the high places, and whose administration has dangerously divided our nation with escalated violence and daily bloodletting, is seeking re-election with no solution to offer on any critical sector of our economy.
“Mr. President has nothing to offer on security; he has no message on education, agriculture, health, energy, power, employment, manufacturing and other key sectors, which he wrecked in the last three and half years.
“Instead of seeking ways to make amends, President Buhari, ostensibly out of frustration over his rejection and imminent electoral defeat in 2019, has arrogantly told Nigerians to be ready to face more suffering and hardship in the remaining part of his tenure.
“On our own part, our party and presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, are working hard, campaigning across the country and offering solutions, for which we have continued to receive overwhelming support from majority of Nigerians, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“It is instructive for President Buhari and APC to note that they cannot have their way, as Nigerians are determined in their resolve to resist any attempt by the APC to rig in this election”.
But to the APC the allegations are “spurious”.
APC National Publicity Secretary Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said it was amazing that rather than campaign on issues, the PDP was more interested whether the APC had started its campaign or not, adding that President Buhari started his campaign three and half years ago.
He said: “It is very amazing that two months into the election, PDP is still not presenting any alternative governance agenda before the people of this country. Sadly, the main opposition party appears at a loss as to how to face Nigerians, knowing they would have to explain why they so badly mismanaged this country at a period of surplus.
“Rather than focus on its own campaign, the only apparent concern of PDP is whether APC has flagged off its campaigns or not. Of course, APC will soon begin strategic engagements with the people of this country.
“Unlike PDP, our party as the governing party began our campaign immediately President Muhamnadu Buhari resumed office. We have spent the last three and half years carrying out massive infrastructural projects in all the 36 states of the country.
“We have invested heavily in social intervention programmes targeted at the ordinary Nigerians, at a scale never seen before in this country. The onslaught against corruption, the lasting solutions being put in place to provide security across our country, the transformation in the agricultural and the solid minerals sectors are the real campaigns that the APC government has embarked on since June 2015.
“We understand that PDP cannot campaign on issues as they have none to present. PDP’s recent attempts to speak to issues have ended in disgrace as it became obvious they base their projections and analyses on fallacious data. In effect, PDP is left with no other option than to resort to sophistry. They obviously need another trip to Dubai. Perhaps, they may try China this time, hoping they would at least get their figures right.”