Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dismissed President Muhammadu Buhari’s birthday declaration to ensure 2023 general elections would be free, fair and credible.

Buhari had on Tuesday while receiving top government officials at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to commemorate his 77th birthday celebrations told politicians hoping to contest the 2023 general elections not to depend on the use of security agencies to win elections.

He said those aspiring for political position in the next election year in Nigeria should work hard in order to achieve victory.

But the PDP in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the declaration by Buhari as diversionary posturing, adding that it cannot sway Nigerians to place any trust in the present administration as far as elections are concerned.

“The PDP says President Buhari cannot claim to be committed to a free and fair election after he refused to sign the amendment to the Electoral Act and had continued to endorse the outcome of bloody and manipulated governorship elections that occurred in Bayelsa, Kogi, Kano, Ekiti, Osun as well as the 2019 general elections, in which he and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), were huge beneficiaries.

“Furthermore, Mr President cannot rightly assert a commitment to electoral reform when he congratulated all beneficiaries of past flawed elections, while his administration failed to take any decisive step to bring known riggers and perpetrators of violence in these elections to book.

“Our party notes that penance is a process from which a President is not forbidden. However, we invite Mr President to note that the true electoral reform, which our nation requires today, goes beyond mere verbal posturing. He needs to openly support the strengthening of our electoral laws and the decisive application of the provisions thereof.”

The opposition party, therefore, tasked President Buhari to demonstrate that commitment for a free, fair and credible electoral process by immediately returning the Electoral Act amendment bill to the National Assembly for accelerated consideration with a commitment from him to sign it into law upon passage.

“The demonstration of this birthday declaration should also include a presidential order for the immediate prosecution of the killers of Mrs Salome Abu and all those killed in the last Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

“Mr President should as well order the release of information to Nigerians on who was responsible for the deployment of a police helicopter to attack voters who queued up to perform their civic responsibilities and aided the manipulation of the Kogi governorship election to favour his party.

“Moreover, as part of a commitment to this birthday declaration, Mr President must assure Nigerians that he will not interfere in the process of legislative consideration of all amendments required in the electoral act, which is the only way to guarantee free, fair and credible elections in our country,” the party said.

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