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2019: Buhari, PDP differ as President submit nomination forms

…Don’t allow PDP to return to power, Buhari tells Nigerians
…No, Nigerians across board have rejected you ahead of election – PDP
Ahead of the 2019 general election, the sole presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari, has told Nigerians not to allow the former governing party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) return to lead Nigeria any more.

The development came just as the PDP disclosed that Nigerians across board have rejected Buhari ahead of the presidential election in 2019.

Buhari spoke on Wednesday at the party’s national secretariat when he personally returned his presidential nomination and expression of interest forms in the full glare of the members of the serving Federal Executive Council (FEC), former governors and party leaders who arrived at the national secretariat at about 3.44pm.

The Daily Times recalls that a group under the aegis of National Consolidation Ambassadors of Nigeria (NCAN) purchased the N45 million nomination form for the president last week to seek re-election.

Returning the form to the party and received by the National Chairman of the APC , Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Buhari said he is giving another shot at the presidency with “humility, sense of responsibility and unquestionable desire to serve and protect the interest of all Nigerians”.

According to the President, “Nigerians must not allow those who brought the country to its kneels from 1999 to 2015, come and take us back”.

He commended those who contributed monies to purchase his nomination form, assuring them and Nigerians that if nominated, and if elected, “I shall continue to serve you to the best of my abilities”.

The President appealed to all members of the APC not to be complacent but to prepare, strategise and win the 2019 election.

In his reaction, National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomohle assured the president that the APC under his leadership has credible and verifiable persons to conduct direct primaries on the basis of membership register.

He said: “Before I am miss-understood or miss-quoted, it goes to saying that in spite of the fact that we have these credible membership register, it does not in any way nullify or change the decisions of NEC with regards to the flexibility that was agreed to.

The National Working Committee (NWC) will strive to give practical expression as transparently as possible so that this party will not only be the largest, but the smartest, the most democratic and most cohesive”.

Speaking on the ongoing membership registration of the APC, Oshiomohle confirmed that the party has about 15.6 million members at the moment.

He said, “We have taken advantage of modern technology to produce what we think is the best or the first in Nigeria. As at last week when they started printing the membership register, we now have about 15.6 million registered APC members across the country.

The system has been designed in such a way that from the comfort of any member’s seating room, you can crosscheck your membership and membership of any one you want to verify without any effort.

“Mr. President, your card, I am proud to say cannot be forged or duplicated or printed by road side printers, because it fits into our mantra of change. We now have a digital membership register.

The card will expire on December 31, 2023. It is our belief that by then, technology would have improved and we will be able to improve on the card.

“Members of our party have to pay N100 to acquire this because we have to pay for it. For the purpose of a direct primary, every member coming to vote will show his membership card which must correspond with the details on the register before he can vote.

We decided to display this openly so that people will know that we have basis to conduct direct primary based on a membership register”.

Meanwhile, the PDP has accused Buhari of insincerity about the purchase of his N45 million nomination form of the APC to recontest, while describing the group that bought Buhari’s form as shadowy.

The party accused the Buhari Presidency of round-tripping the N45 million claimed to have been contributed by a shadowy group to buy his presidential nomination form.

The party said President Buhari’s inability, as “Mr. Integrity”, to explain the registration status, membership and source of funding of the shadowy group exposes the charade in the latest failed endorsement stunt.

The PDP in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it is laughable that the Buhari Presidency does not realise that such stunts have become out-worn and cannot sway opinion in a country with citizens as enlightened as Nigerians.

It said “most Nigerians already know how some officials at the Buhari presidency, made up of corrupt individuals, racketeers and certificate forgers, hurriedly assembled the group and mobilised them with N45 million for the APC presidential nomination form, which was hiked to scare away other contestants.

“How members of the group were settled for the stunt as well the issues and disagreements that arose from the deal are also known to many Nigerians.

“What Mr. President’s handlers are hiding from him is the fact that Nigerians do not believe the falsehood that a set of individuals, facing the challenges of abysmally low purchasing power, put together a wholesome N45 million to buy him a form”.

The party asked the president to make public the proof of registration, membership, list of individual contributors and amount contributed by these shadowy individuals.

The PDP also challenged President Buhari to make public the official correspondences of the 12 million members of the Rice Farmers Association, members of the Fertilizer Producers Association and the members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association who, he claimed, offered to buy nomination form for him.

The PDP described as unpresidential, the outbursts credited to President Buhari against those who left the APC, noting that such was an unwarranted attack on innocent Nigerians whose only offence is that they chose to abandon his derelict sinking ship, APC.

The party counseled President Buhari to “forget the idea of painting himself as a lover of youths and asking for funds from them, as his “lazy youth” comment and talking down on young persons not to contest against him in the 2019 election, amply convey his disdain for the Nigerian youths”.

The PDP also said that the independent reports by two internationally acclaimed bodies, The Economist Magazine and a renowned multinational body, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) that the woeful economic performance of the APC administration will cost President Buhari the 2019 presidency is a confirmation of the party’s position that Nigerians across board have rejected President Buhari ahead of the 2019 presidential election.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research unit of The Economist magazine and HSBC, a multinational banking and financial services company, had in their special reports about Nigeria, claimed that a second term for President Buhari would greatly stunt the economic development of the country

and probably push the country into more difficulties, alleging that the next administration would flounder against the same problems after 2019 elections and that Nigeria’s manifold security threats will continue to fester.

Also, the EIU report claimed that a second term for President Buhari will worsen the nation’s economy, hence predicted a win for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming presidential election.

In a statement on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the findings by the two credible organisations that the handling of the nation’s economy by President Buhari’s government portends grave danger for the country, is completely in tandem with the stand of majority of Nigerians, irrespective of their current political party affiliations, ethnicity or creed.

The party noted that in line with the reports, Nigerians are fed up with President Buhari mainly “due to the incompetence and unprecedented corruption in his Presidency, resulting in the ruining of our once robust economy, with attendant mass job loss, ravaging hunger, starvation and disease,

as well as escalated insecurity, with documented mass killings, violation of human rights and daily bloodletting in various parts of our country, a development that has put the unity of our great country at risk”.

The party alleged that the Buhari -led APC had resorted to unconstitutional means towards coercing and intimidating the opposition and employ state institutions in rigging the 2019 polls.

“The world now knows the major reason the Buhari-led APC administration has resorted to harassment and vicious attacks on the opposition, using trumped-up charges;

the various assaults on the institution of the Judiciary and the National Assembly, as well as unrelenting machination to compromise the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the elections.

“This is the reason President Buhari rejected the amendment to the Electoral Act passed by the National Assembly, which practically checks all APC’s rigging strategies ahead of the 2019 general elections and for which Nigerians have approved that the legislators should override his veto.

“The fear of imminent defeat is the reason President Buhari is against the amendment that checked the use of underage voters, provided for online publication of voter register in addition to instant transmission of results from the polling to collation centre, thus eliminating interferences and planned alteration of results by the APC”, he said.

The party urged Buhari to ditch the idea of rigging the elections and get ready to accept an inevitable defeat as Nigerians are not ready to be dragged into an unnecessary political crisis for any person’s selfish ambition.

But the ruling APC had earlier queried the rationale behind the concerns being shown on the affairs of the country by the London-based organisations.

In a related development, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, has declared that the 2019 general election is under serious threat because the ruling APC and the Federal Government are not disposed to conduct free and fair poll.

Receiving a delegation of the European Union who called at the party’s Wadata House headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, Prince Secondus said that available intelligence to the party shows that the government and the electoral commission are plotting to rig the election.

Expressing disappointment in the level of preparation of the ruling government and the electoral commission, Secondus said: “Our major concern is that INEC and security agencies are working hand in hand to rig the election for the APC”.

“What they did in Ekiti State in July and they are still preparing to repeat it in Osun on September 22, is enough evidence that they are not ready to conduct free, fair and credible elections”.

The chairman charged the INEC boss, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to go beyond verbal promises and put into action credible and practical processes for credible elections in Nigeria.

Prince Secondus said that the APC is not preparing for election because it has nothing to offer the electorate having so divided the country and dragged the economy almost to a state of comatose.

“This government has divided the country, borrowed over N11 trillion yet hunger is ravaging our people as the economy slides.

“Records shows that more Nigerians have been killed in the last three years than during the civil war yet the government remains insensitive to the situation”, he said, adding that the Buhari administration has no regard for the rule of law and human rights.

The PDP National Chairman explained to his visitors the internal democracy processes in place by the party to ensure free and fair process in line with the rebranding spirit of the party.

The EU leader, Bridget Markussen, Deputy Director (African Division), European Union External Action Services (EEAS), commended the party for providing robust opposition which is necessary for democracy to strive while noting that in few months away, the focus of the global community would be on Nigeria to see how it copes with her election processes.

She said: “The European Union is here today to discuss preparations for the 2019 elections. I think the world will definitely be watching Nigeria for the months to come. We have worked together in every election since 1999.

“At European Union, we talk to all parties, all partners and we are looking forward to work together again to have free and fair elections and also to jointly work together to strengthen the process-the electoral and democratic processes and institutions and to make them to do their work.

“We know there are mature and strong political parties in Nigeria and you have a strong history. That is why we are here to discuss opportunities for cooperation.”

Other members of the delegation include Ambassador Ketil Karsen, Head of EU delegation to Nigeria, and deputy head, Richard Young.

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