An end appears not in sight to the war of words between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) as the rescheduled general election draws near.
The spokesman of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday accused the PDP of plotting to frame up the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega.
To achieve the alleged plot, according to the APC, Jega’s bank account would be credited with a huge sum purportedly paid by the national leader of the opposition party, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. After that, a public announcement of the discovery would be made and the INEC chairman would be arrested, to further throw spanners into the works of the coming election and to remove Jega as the chairman of the commission.
In its reply, the PDP called the APC a party of lies and declared that the APC spokesman is suffering from diarrhea of the mouth.
Mohammed, who addressed the media in Lagos, alleged that the PDP members do not want the elections to hold. He listed the alleged plot of the PDP to put a halt to the coming elections in a series of scenarios. He alleged: “There is a plot to transfer a humongous amount of money into the bank account of the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and then claim that the money came from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the APC in order to justify the ongoing plan to sack Prof. Jega so he won’t organise the elections. Beyond Jega, there is also a plan to credit the bank accounts of some key national institutions with huge amounts of money purportedly from our party, the APC, ostensibly to compromise those institutions.
“There is plan to use some political parties that are satellites of the PDP to push for the postponement of the elections again. The plot is to get the parties to address a press conference to say the elections should not hold in the North-east until September 2015 because of the ongoing counter-insurgency battle there. The intention is to make sure Jega’s tenure expires before the polls, so that they can appoint a malleable card-carrying member of the PDP as INEC Chair to conduct the polls.
“There is a plan to use the security agencies to intimidate key opposition leaders as well as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and telecommunications service providers to disrupt voice and data transmission, especially in APC strongholds, on election day. As we have said earlier, the telephones of our leaders have been bugged and their movements are being daily monitored. Top on the list of the security agencies to be used against the opposition is the DSS, which will be used to compel all Resident Electoral Commissioners in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to hand over the names and telephone numbers of all INEC’s regular and ad hoc staff who will conduct the elections, as part of the Jonathan Administration’s rigging plans. It is no longer news that a signal has been sent to all state commands of the DSS to get the list of all INEC Returning Officers and Ad hoc Staff before March 10th.
“There is also the ongoing illegal recruitment of over 500 new cadets into one of the country’s security outfits, 50% of whom are from the home state of the outfit’s top brass, in violation of the provisions of the Constitution, especially as the recruitment does not reflect the Federal Character
“Nocturnal meetings are being held between various heads of national security agencies and the leadership of the PDP to undermine the coming elections;
“The Presidency has retained the services of two Israelis and a Belgian who are currently holed up in the Aso Rock Villa to hack and corrupt INEC computers on election day, with the trio having already been paid 25 percent of their contract fees upfront.
“There is an ongoing effort to compromise the card reader, which the Jonathan Administration sees as inimical to its rigging plans.
“Huge funds are being provided for retired and serving security personnel to buy up PVCs, with the hope that they can be used once the card reader is compromised. Remember, gentlemen, that there is a case in court seeking to declare the use of the card reader in the forthcoming elections unconstitutional.
“In the days leading up to the elections, the Jonathan Administration is planning to give the opposition the Ekiti treatment by massively arresting key opposition leaders, with a view to destabilising their ranks, putting them away and paving the way for a free rein of their rigging agents. Towards this end, thousands of signed blank detention orders have been procured.
“As part of the plan to implicate our leaders, illegal substances may be put into their checked-in luggage during local and international flights. That is why we are calling on our leaders to travel only with their carry-on baggage. Let me say that the detailed plans by the desperate Jonathan Administration and the PDP are part of the massive intelligence we are receiving daily from patriotic Nigerians, within and outside the government, who are eager to see the organisation of a free, fair, credible and violence-free elections that will catapult Nigeria to the league of truly democratic nations.
“We have decided to share the information we are receiving with Nigerians because we believe that no power is strong enough to stop a people who are determined to effect change in the way and manner they are being governed, and that the ultimate power resides in the people. We have no doubt that the information will fortify the local and international observers who are coming for the elections, in addition to enhancing the vigilance of the citizenry before, during and after the polls”.
In his reaction, the Director of Media and Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, said that the APC is only preparing the ground for its imminent defeat. Also, the national publicity secretary of the PDP, Olisa Methu, declared that the fresh allegations were a conclusive proof that the APC is a party of one week, one lie.
Fani-Kayode, in a press statement, declared: said Mohammed, made “a series of absurd and clearly ludicrous claims and allegations.”
He continued: “It is clear that these claims and allegations are nothing but the paranoid ranting of a paranoid little man that is working for a paranoid party. Rather than trying to prepare his masters’ minds for the defeat that is coming their way, Lai Mohammed has come again with his verbal diarrhoea.”
He continued: “The truth is that we are not strategising to shift the election dates. We are not trying to frame up Jega. We have no plans to plant any illegal substance in the bags of any of the leaders of the APC whenever they travel. We are not trying to compromise the telephone numbers of any of the INEC officials. President Jonathan is not planning to arrest opposition leaders before the elections. The Presidency has not retained the services of any foreigner to corrupt or compromise INEC computers on Election Day and we are not planning to do any of the other reprehensible things that they have alleged. The truth is that if they were in our position, these are the sort of sordid things that they would do. Such dirty things and filthy tactics are a way of life and an art with them. But for us, such things are alien, perverse and unacceptable.
“The PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation is not surprised that the APC is resorting to peddling falsehood in order to gain public sympathy. For quite some time now, the party has been displaying its expertise in the cheap propaganda for which it is well-known. We take exception to their fiction and false claims and we will not take this matter lightly.
“These spurious allegations follow a well-documented pattern of lies that only recently saw them falsely claiming that an interview conducted by one of its sympathizers at the Abuja Transcorp Hilton Hotel was conducted by a so-called independent journalist in the UK. The whole world now knows that, on that occasion, as on many other occasions, the APC told a barefaced lie.
“This new smear campaign against the PDP-led Federal Government is clearly propelled by the fact that the APC knows fully that it has gone as far as it can go with its propaganda and deceit and that it will be thoroughly beaten by the PDP at the polls in the upcoming elections.
“The APC and its leaders are simply unraveling and falling apart at the seams. They are the ones who had perfected a plan to rig the forthcoming elections through the lopsided distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). They were very comfortable with the fact that 34 percent of registered voters had not collected their PVCs as at February 14 just before the presidential election was postponed.
“The APC and its leaders said that they were ready for that election when it was obvious that the PVC collection rate in the north, comprising some of the traditional strongholds of their presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, was higher than the collection rate in the south, the traditional support base of our candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are happy that many eligible voters are now going out to collect their PVCs. We know that the APC and its leaders are not happy about this development because they had wanted to railroad themselves on the nation through a compromised and rigged election. How can they be happy when the advantage they obviously enjoyed before the postponement of the February 14 presidential election has now been removed?
Metuh said that the string of false alarms and outright lies that characterized Wednesday’s press conference addressed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) have clearly justified its profiling as a party of ‘one week, one lie’.
Metuh in a statement in Abuja said that the opposition, in its penchant for falsehood, failed to realize that under the current financial system, it is practically impossible to transfer the so called humongous amount of money into any bank account without the source being traced by relevant independent financial monitoring bodies like the EFCC.
“In any case, we note that the allegation by APC is suspect and betrays an attempt to cover-up.
“We ask: is it that the APC has already been paying monies into accounts of INEC officials and some institutions of government with a view to compromising them and is now using the allegation as a subterfuge to distract the financial monitoring agencies and cover its tracks?
“We challenge the APC to come out clear on the actual link between its leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose antecedents and reputation are well known to all, and the said transfer plot?
“Was Tinubu’s name also dropped by the APC as a strategy to pre-empt findings by anti-graft agencies in a bid to cover a crime?
“Whilst we note that nothing is beyond a desperate party like the APC, which has continued to manifest its crass lack of integrity, we charge relevant agencies to immediately investigate the allegations and possibly unravel its evil plots.
“We have also noted the hues and cries of the opposition regarding the issue of PVCs and Card readers for the elections but Nigerians are not short in their memory to recall that it is not the PDP but APC that had issues with security agencies over attempts to hack into INEC’s data base and to clone the PVCs.
“It is also not the PDP but the APC that has complicities with some compromised INEC officials on biased distribution of PVCs in select states especially, Lagos and other APC states.” the PDP said.
The ruling party also debunked allegations of plans to use security agencies to intimidate or implicate opposition leaders describing such as “part of APC’s worn out antics of attempting to use nuisance alarm to heat up the system having failed to articulate credible manifesto to secure genuine followership among Nigerians.”
“Nigerians are aware that this is not the first time the opposition would be raising such alarms just for Nigerians to find out that they are lies. We have here a group of people who are being haunted by failure and self inflicted woes. APC has all along been deluding itself as a government in waiting with some phantom popular image it created for itself in the social media. Now that reality has dawn it in the face, it has resorted to deploying all manners of antics in a failed attempt to win the sympathy of Nigerians”, it said.