“When All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders were threatening foreign election monitors with returning to their country in body bags, we didn't know that they had designed the same thing for Nigerians. As at the last count, over 50 Nigerians have lost their lives last Saturday, witn most of them from the South South region, where a division of the army, with their commander, were turned on the people on Election Day."
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the All Progressives Congress (APC) “robbed” them in broad daylight by conducting a “body bag election” that saw President Muhammadu Buhari emerge winner.
This was contained in the statement of Uche Secondus, the PDP Chairman, in a press conference he addressed on Friday.
In early February, Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, had warned any “foreign power” that interferes with Nigeria's 2019 general election that they would return to their country in “body bags”.
On Friday, Secondus said the APC “appears comfortable with blood”, just as he accused the Nigerian Army of working with the APC to rig the elections.
The statement read: “Our presidential flag bearer in the election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, spoke with you on Wednesday and the National Publicity Secretary of our party has been interacting with you on daily basis. I have therefore come to you again today in continuation of our unearthing the brigandage of last Saturday which I have tagged 'body bag election'
“When All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders were threatening foreign election monitors with returning to their country in body bags, we didn't know that they had designed the same thing for Nigerians. As at the last count, over 50 Nigerians have lost their lives last Saturday, witn most of them from the South South region, where a division of the army, with their commander, were turned on the people on Election Day.
“For a regime that appears comfortable with blood, the deaths they recorded during their campaigns were not enough as after their contrived ballot box victory and stolen mandate, they still hired some hoodlums and sent them to the streets to go and kill themselves and further inconvenience the grieving Nigerians while celebrating their electoral robbery.”
The party observed a one-minute silence for those who lost their lives to violence during the elections and continued, saying: “You can see that the nation has been in a sorrow mood for our democracy that was dragged down last Saturday, four years after the world stood up for Nigeria, for not only conducting a flawless election, but for going ahead in addition to have a seamless transition to an opposition party. But we all are seeing the direct beneficiary of that rare democratic disposition, General Muhammadu Buhari, using the military to rob Nigerians of their right to choose leaders of their choice.
“The clear effect of militarizing the election, particularly in the South South and South East, in addition to the killing of innocent electorates, was the obvious suppression of voters who were either scared out or chased away. Even by INEC’s own records, voter turnout in last Saturday's election fell to about 36% from 44% it was in 2015.
“Gentlemen of the press, you were on the field and witnessed the large turnout of Nigerian electorate in comparison to that of 2015. The military were dragged into the election to suppress and scare away voters and facilitate rigging. That is how you hear ridiculously that war-torn Borno and Yobe states recorded higher percentage in voter turnout than some states in the South South geopolitical zone. Shamelessly, they have again started mobilizing to use the same military to forcefully take over for APC two PDP states in the South South and one state in the South East. Credible intelligence available to the party showed that the ruling party's main link in INEC met with party's leadership as well as the military to review the planned strategy to take over these states.
“While the military was suppressing voters in PDP stronghold areas in the South, a different abracadabra was going on in some northern states particularly in Kano, Yobe, Borno and Zamfara states, where numbers refuse to add up. In Borno, Yobe and Zamfara states, confirmed report shows that there was non-compliance in the use of Smart Card Reader as approved by INEC rules. The backend report from the card readers for the various Local Government Areas in these states will show this further.
“In these states as in others, the data is inconsistent with the accreditation of registered voters in the Local Government Areas and voting patterns witnessed in 2015. The same applies to cancelled votes in Nasarawa State with over 115,000 votes cancelled, Kogi – 79,000 votes, Plateau – 30,000 votes, indicating that these high incidence of vote cancellation were designed to suppress the margin of victory in PDP strongholds.”
He also accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of “strangulating the opposition”.
“As part of their strategy to ensure that PDP is distracted from pursuing its stolen mandate, General Buhari's regime has decided to intensify their intimidation and strangulation of the opposition. Some prominent members of the opposition have been put on surveillance and their names listed to be stopped from travelling out of the country.
“Gentlemen of the press, you can all see that we have arrived at the place we never bargained for: full blown dictatorship. And this is where I urge you members of the press to stand up as you have always done against this emerging despotism in our land, before we become a laughing stock in the global democracy family again,” he added.