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The Federal Government has accused the opposition parties in the 2019 general election of mounting what it described as international blackmail against the forthcoming general elections.
The government said rather than selling their programmes to the electorate through campaigns as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was doing across the country, the opposition was resorting to campaigns to discredit the elections even before they are held.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said plans were already on by the opposition parties in the election to send delegations to some western capitals to lobby for rejection of results in the event of President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the polls.
According to him, ‘they are sending a delegation to some Western capitals, including London, Brussels and Washington, DC, to push the concocted line that the Buhari Administration has perfected the plan to rig the polls. They are therefore pushing for a rejection of the results if the President wins re-election.”
The Minister said government has the implicit confidence that the international community was capably of seeing through the alleged smokescreen of the opposition, adding however that it was necessary to alert Nigerians and the world of the plots to scuttle and discredit the polls.
Alhaji Mohammed said “With just 12 days to the 2019 election, we have called this press conference to alert Nigerians to the evil machinations of the opposition, which is not campaigning to win the election – because they know they can’t win a free, fair and peaceful election – but are busy planning how to scuttle or discredit it.
“Recall that on Monday, January 21st 2019, we alerted the nation, also via a press conference, to the plot by some opposition elements to scuttle the 2019 general elections by instigating widespread violence across the country. Of course we didn’t just make this up. It was based on credible intelligence.“We revealed that the plan to scuttle the polls is part of moves to push the nation into a constitutional crisis, with the plotters hoping they can leverage on that to push for an interim government. When we raised the alarm, the opposition dismissed it. Of course they were shocked to have been found out, so we understand their panic reaction.”
He added that “To underscore the seriousness of our alert, a week after our press conference, the National Security Adviser (NSA) met with state governors to also inform them of this same plan to scuttle the polls via widespread violence. As I said at my last press conference, the alarm we raised is based on credible intelligence.”
The Minister stressed that “ Today, still based on credible intelligence, we can reveal that the opposition is moving a step further. They are working hard to discredit the forthcoming election before, during and after the polls. Specifically, they are sending a delegation to some Western capitals, including London, Brussels and Washington, DC, to push the concocted line that the Buhari Administration has perfected the plan to rig the polls. They are therefore pushing for a rejection of the results if the President wins re-election. They are also predicting carnage in the event of the President’s victory.
He noted that “Already, they have started flying the rigging kite domestically. They have been engaging in incendiary rhetoric and in making outlandish claims using several fronts, including the nebulous Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) which, by the way, is nothing more than a reincarnated Association for Better Nigeria (ABN). Of course you all know the role that the ABN played in the failed 1993 political transition process.”
Alhaji Mohammed said “They have targeted, for attack, the two key institutions that are most critical to the success of the election: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Police. They have used every malleable and malicious personality to make wild allegations against INEC. Their strategy is simple: Discredit the election even before it is held, and continue during and after the polls with a view to convincing the West – which they believe they have won to their side using lobbyist-propelled propaganda – that the election is not credible.”
He quipped that “Some may ask: Why would the opposition go to this length?”, explaining that “ The answer is simple: They know, and are convinced, that they cannot win a free, fair, credible and peaceful polls. The handwriting is on the wall for all discerning people to see. While President Buhari has received warm and genuine reception and adulation from huge crowds everywhere he has gone to campaign, their candidate has been exposed to apathetic and thinning crowds! Their numbers just don’t add up!”
He stressed that “On our part, we as an Administration are undaunted by their antics, even though we believe it is necessary to expose their evil plans – as we have been doing – to the world. President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly stated his commitment to ensuring a free, fair and violence-free election. He has no doubt – based on testimonies of change from Nigerians – that the achievements of his Administration, in the three cardinal areas of fighting corruption, revamping the economy and fighting insecurity, will speak for him at the polls. He did not rig his way into office and has no need to rig now that he is in office.
He added that “We are therefore compelled to alert Nigerians and the global community to the following:
– The desperate opposition is doing everything possible, including instigating widespread violence as well as relentless attacks on key institutions, to discredit the forthcoming election. They know they will lose the election, but they want victory by subterfuge.
– To further their plan, the opposition is dispatching a 10-member delegation to some Western capitals, including London, Brussels and Washington, DC, to sell the idea that the Buhari Administration has perfected the plan to rig the election. They have no empirical basis for the idea they are pushing, beyond relying on exploiting the nation’s ‘fault lines’ of religion, ethnicity and regionalism.
– The opposition is approaching the election with an incredible level of desperation. In this regard, they have activated their own version of the infamous Association for Better Nigeria (ABN), under the guise of CUPP, to engage in unrestrained rabble-rousing and frivolous court cases. Of course, the activities of CUPP in recent times are there for all to see, even though the coalition seems to be a very poor imitation of the original ABN.
– The Buhari Administration is committed to a free, fair, credible and peaceful polls. We are glad that local and international observers are already fully mobilised to monitor the election.
– We call on all Nigerians to be vigilant as we begin the final countdown to the election. Eternal vigilance, as the saying goes, is the price of liberty. We must not allow desperate politicians to crash our democracy on the altar of their personal – and sometimes inordinate – ambition!.”
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