The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has claimed that the popularity of President Muhammadu Buhari has dipped in his stomping grounds of Kano and Katsina states. The PDP, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said the loss of popularity was evidenced by alleged primitive cheating and deployment of heavily armed security operatives to muscle votes for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s House of Representatives bye-election in Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency of Katsina State.
The PDP reckoned that the development is also proof that President Buhari, like his party, is no longer popular in his home state.
The opposition party also claimed that Saturday’s Kano State Local Council election was marked by outright cheating, open underaged voting and ballot stuffing.
"These two elections have signified that the APC cannot win any free and fair election, even in their supposed stronghold," the PDP said.
It equally claimed the fact that it legitimately polled 22,690 votes to the 30,719 fraudulently allocated to the APC provided proof that PDP was the winner of the election.
"It further strengthens our resolve that our party, the PDP, still commands a genuine followership among Nigerians.
We, however, invite Nigerians and the international community to mark how the APC and its controlled Federal Government are corrupting our electoral system, by using force to intimidate the people and steal their votes," the opposition party said.
It accused the ruling party of corrupting security officials to use maximum force as a desperate measure to save the face of President Buhari, whose popularity dipped nationwide.
"In their desperation to help the President, the APC, in cahoots with the inept Presidency, declared war on the people by ensuring the deployment of over 1000 heavily armed and hostile security operatives for an election that held in only 15 polling units within two local government areas of Katsina State.
"It is unfortunate that the APC has recourse to the worst kind of intimidation and violations 12 calendar months ahead of the general elections," said the PDP.
It added that it is currently compiling comprehensive documentary evidence of infractions and irregularities. These, it said, included barring legitimate voters from polling centres, assigning of polling units to APC government functionaries, the indiscriminate arrest of opposition party supporters, underaged voting and allocation of votes for APC as well as discrepant results between figures from the polling units and collation centres.
The PDP also said it is compiling the identities of security and electoral officials used by the APC in the disputed polls and make such public to ensure that they are prosecuted.
"The clear message to the APC is that the will of the people will prevail in 2019, as Nigerians will never allow the shameful impunity and suppression witnessed in Katsina and Kano during last Saturday's election as they will be fully rallied to resist such across board”, the party said.
It urged its members in Katsina and Kano states to remain calm as it makes efforts to reclaim the mandate allegedly stolen by APC.