….Say Buhari’s Body Language Negates any Commitments to Free, Fair, Credible Election The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said on Sunday that it is irked by proposed plan by President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the tenure of Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Abubakar Idris, by another six months as doing so would be an opportunity for
….Say Buhari’s Body Language Negates any Commitments to Free, Fair, Credible Election
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said on Sunday that it is irked by proposed plan by President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the tenure of Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Abubakar Idris, by another six months as doing so would be an opportunity for the President to orchestrate his rigging plan for 2019.
National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, revealed while speaking with newsmen, saying that the party was right now aware that the IG had surrounded all the state commissioners of police with his own men who would be following them to any strategic meeting and spying for him, appealing to him to insulate the police from politics.
Ologbondiyan spoke in the company of spokesperson, Presidential Campaign Council of PDP, Mr Umar Sani, saying that even from President Buhari’s body language, it was quite clear that he was not ready to give Nigeria free and fair elections, come 2019.
“We reject in totality the extension of tenure of the Inspector-General for another six months. We are aware that doing so the President wants to perpetrate his rigging plan for 2019 election.”
“Our party is also aware that the IG has surrounded the commissioners of police with his own men who would be following them to a strategic meeting, any meetings and be spying for him. We want to appeal to the Inspector-General of Police to insulate the police from politics,” the PDP spokesperson said.
According to Ologbondiyan, President Buhari is totally against free and fair elections in the country as his refusal to sign the amended Electoral Act had shown, even as he said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which promised not to use Incident Form, which allowed for rigging in past polls, was coming out with a format not quite different from one it was trying to discard.
He said the PDP demanded that the Commission, come 2019 elections, must allow international and local election observers, including the EU, among others, access to its situation rooms across the country to guarantee free, fair and credible poll.
“So the position of PDP is that INEC has a situation room. INEC must allow EU and all other international, as well as local observers, have access to the situation rooms to guarantee free and fair elections,” the party spokesperson said, noting that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was able to rig the recently concluded Osun governorship poll due to its (commission) refusal to allow election observers to the situation room.
He, however, assured that the PDP was poised to burst all the rigging plans by the APC in the coming polls, saying that despite all barriers put in place, the party was able to let the world know it won the last Osun poll, which was thereafter manipulated.
Ologbondiyan appealed to Nigerians not to allow themselves to be scared by the instruments of government, saying they should all come out on election days, exercise their right and also ensure that they protected their votes from being stolen.
Also the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), is threatening to drag President Buhari before the court over the planned tenure extension.
A report in The Guardian indicated that the President was said to have agreed in principle to grant the IG who’s supposed to retire on January 3rd, 2019, additional six months in office to enable him to coordinate and supervise the forthcoming general elections in the country.
A top source, who confirmed the development to newsmen in Abuja on Saturday, explained that the IG might get the official confirmation of the tenure extension “any moment from now.”
He said, “It is a done deal; the IG’s tenure has already been extended because the Presidency has confidence in him. He would get the official confirmation any moment from now; that is if he hasn’t received it already.”
“Extending the IG’s tenure is not unexpected. The other service chiefs had their tenure extended by a year. So, giving Idris the same privilege is nothing out of the ordinary.”
The CUPP said this would only afford the police boss the opportunity to do the President’s bidding and work for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general elections.
They have therefore resolved to resist the move, claiming the nation’s constitution does not make any provision for tenure extension.
The first national spokesperson for the CUPP, Imo Ugochinyere, in an interview at the weekend, said the opposition parties were shifting their attention to the leadership of the Police following Buhari’s decision not to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill and the inability of federal lawmakers to override his veto.
He said, “We are insisting that the Inspector-General of Police, whose tenure is expiring in January, must leave the office.”
“So, we are demanding that the President should not extend his tenure because there is no such provision in the constitution. A former police officer cannot be an Inspector-General of Police. We will be filing an action in court to ensure that he leaves office in January.”
Also, the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC) has kicked against the alleged tenure elongation, noting that Idris had so far “demonstrated lack of capacity and inability to effectively police Nigeria as the IG.”
The CDNDC Coordinator, Mr Dare Atoye, argued that wanton killings and criminality had increased under Idris leadership of the police, adding that there were more competent officers in the Police that could do the job better.
He said, “The only good thing that can happen to the Nigeria police is for the government of President Buhari to look for a competent replacement; somebody who has the discipline and the character to lead the force. I believe many Nigerians would agree with me that the wanton killings in the country and the lack of training without equipment have been aggravated under his leadership.”
Appraising the alleged reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the activist observed that no reform had taken place, noting that the impunity being carried out by the squad was merely suppressed.
He cited the arrest and arraignment of an Abuja-based activist, Mr Deji Adeyanju, by the police for murder, a charge for which he was discharged and acquitted by a Kano High Court in 2009.
The Secretary-General, Basic Rights Enlightenment Foundation, Mr Ikechukwu Maduike, also kicked against the government’s decision, stressing that “the police had become worse under the IG.”
The lawyer said, “We need someone who has new ideas so we can see something new in the force. I don’t think this IG has what it takes to transform the police force.”
Idris who was Commissioner of Police in Kano state during the 2015 election, is seen as culpable in the moon slide victory scored by Buhari which curiously led to the death of the former Resident Electoral Commissioner and members of his family.
Also, rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Olisa Agbakoba described the idea of allowing international and local observers access to INEC situation room as “good”, saying anything that would make the election transparent would be welcome.
“I think INEC should support it because it will make them look more credible. The Commission is already under suspicion. People are saying they are pro-government. Anything that INEC can do that would make people say it is truly independent and neutral will only add to its credibility.”
“This would make the result they will declare believable. And the only way the result can be believable is if INEC brings in people who are neutral and have no interest in whether it is Atiku or Buhari or any other person. I will urge INEC to endorse any process that will make their work more credible to Nigerians and international communities,” he said.