…Says Politicians across Africa Strife to be Part of New Wave Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President, Mr Garba Shehu has berated the reaction of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the presence of some governors from Niger Republic at President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in Kano In a Facebook post on Saturday,
…Says Politicians across Africa Strife to be Part of New Wave
Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President, Mr Garba Shehu has berated the reaction of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the presence of some governors from Niger Republic at President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in Kano
In a Facebook post on Saturday, he said the opposition party was only jealous and showing signs of panic ahead of the general elections. “It’s jealousy; they are panicky and jealous. It should worry PDP that nobody is coming across the border to understudy PDP,” Shehu said
The PDP had through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, condemned the visit of the Nigerien governors who were reportedly accompanied by their supporters.
While there were arguments whether or not the governors attended the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign in Kano State on Thursday, the opposition party insisted that the visit was wrong.
It had also accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC of compromising the nation’s territorial integrity, saying their action portended grave danger to national security and sanctity of the electoral process.
Shehu, on his part, informed the party about the growing “Buhari phenomenon” which he said was sweeping across the African continent.
According to him, candidates for national leadership in each country are doing whatever they can to understand the “Buhari phenomenon’, as well as copy and institute it.
“That’s why people from the African continent … when they had the presidential election in Ghana, there was a candidate who branded himself the Buhari of Ghana,” the presidential aide said.
He added, “When they had the presidential election in Chad last year, there was a Buhari of Chad. They had printed posters with their pictures with Buhari side by side.”
“So, Nigeria has been gifted with an honest leader, a man endowed with rare qualities and people are trying to copy that.”
Shehu said there was no crime if people come from Niger Republic to witness how the President was doing his politics.
“What is the problem with that? Is there any law that is broken?” he questioned, stressing that the visit does not amount to any form of election rigging.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also says the presence of some governors from Niger Republic ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign rally in Kano state did not violate any Nigerian law.
INEC said this while reacting to comments trailing the visit.
Two governors from the country — Issa Moussa of Zinder and Zakiri Umar of Maradi — were part of the delegation that received the President in Kano.
The visit had triggered criticisms from Nigerians who alleged foreign interference in the electoral process.
Mr Uche Secundus, PDP national chairman has asked INEC to disqualify Buhari over the development.
“They came with monies and mercenaries to influence elections in Nigeria,” Secondus alleged on Thursday.
He said such action by APC is tantamount to the importation of foreign nationals into the country to influence the elections and called on INEC to disqualify the party from the elections.
“Let me warn INEC that what we witnessed yesterday is the worst that we have seen in the country where people from other countries like Niger and Chad came to influence the election in Nigeria.”
“We ask INEC to disqualify Buhari for bringing in machineries to influence the election. INEC better be warned that you cannot rig this election. We have already won this election,” Secondus said.
But in an interview with TheCable, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, INEC director of Voter Education and Publicity, said the governors’ presence in Kano does not violate the law “as far as I am aware”.
He said the law only prohibits foreigners’ direct involvement in the electoral process.
“They are not allowed to participate as either candidates or voters,” Osaze-Uzzi told TheCable on Saturday.
“But they can only observe the process. As far as I am concerned, their presence does not violate the constitution.”
He also said the commission has no powers to disqualify the President, adding that only the courts can.
“INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate,” he said in response to the PDP’s request.
In a related development INEC has said Permanent Voter Cards not collected by their owners before February 8 will be kept in ‘quarantine’ in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
This was revealed by the commission’s Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, in an interview with The Punch on Saturday.
According to Okoye: “The reports from different states indicate that many Nigerians have collected their Permanent Voters Cards. Most Nigerians are aware that the commission registered a total of 84, 004,084 eligible voters.”
“Out of this number 14, 283,734 million were registered during the Continuous Voters’ Registration. The collection of PVCs is still on and will go on till February 8. Thereafter, the commission will recall all uncollected PVCs and keep them in quarantine with the Central Bank of Nigeria and they will remain there till the elections are over.”
Okoye added, “It is difficult to give the exact number of PVCs that have been collected so far. The collection of PVCs is still taking place in the 774 local government areas. After the February 8, 2019 deadline, the commission will recall all uncollected PVCs and give an account of the number collected and the number yet to be collected.
“Nigerians will be informed about the PVC collection data and the commission is committed to a transparent process. We urge Nigerians to approach INEC offices in their LGAs and collect their PVCs.”
Asked how many PVCs had yet to be collected and what INEC was doing to address the situation, the INEC chief said, “The commission has insisted and will continue to insist that registered voters must collect their PVCs personally and there will not be collection by proxy. The commission printed 14,283,734 million voter cards for new registrants and printed replacement cards for those that lost their voter cards and those whose cards are defaced.”
He said INEC had a consolidated register with a total of 84, 004,084 registered voters, adding that since it was a huge database of registered voters, the commission had done well in registering Nigerians.
“The law provides the period for those that want to change their polling units to do so. The PVCs of these category of persons are different. They must comply with the provisions of the law before they will be cleared to move to new polling units,” Okoye said.