By Dirisu Yakubu & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—Ahead of the March 9 governorship and state Assemblies elections, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has accused All Progressives Congress, APC, of instigating deploymeent of the military to lay siege to states in the South-South, which it described as its stronghold.
PDP to Buratai: Buhari has no power to deploy soldiers for election
Describing the move as provocation, the party listed states affected by the siege to include Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Akwa-Ibom and Cross River.
The party noted that the illegal operation was to further militarise the South-South, use soldiers to suppress voters and re-enact the massive rigging of polls for the APC, in a manner reminiscent of the February 23 presidential election.
Addressing a world press conference in Abuja, yestersay, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, warned of grave consequences, stressing that those sowing the wind should also be ready to reap the whirlwind.
He said: “It is clear that after using military to unleash violence, alter results and muscle out fabricated 25 per cent ballot for President Muhammadu Buhari across the South-South states and other PDP strongholds, APC now wants to use the military to fight our governors, suppress our members and forcibly take over our states.
“Nigerians already know how APC leaders from South-South are going around boasting that the military will use violence to give them governorship election triumph the same way it did during the presidential election, where innocent Nigerians were brutalized and murdered.”
While reiterating its commitment to peaceful polls, the party stressed: “Nobody has a monopoly of show of strength. The people of Niger Delta are peace-loving, but have never, in the history of our nation, allowed themselves to be suppressed or vanquished by oppressive forces.
“In this regard, any person who yields his or herself as a tool in the hands of evil should, therefore, be ready to face the legitimate anger of the people.”
Stop dragging military into murky water of politics, DHQ warns
Meanwhile, in a reaction, Defence Headquarters has warned politicians against dragging the Nigerian military into politics, saying it remained apolitical.
In a terse message sent to Vanguard by its spokesman, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, said: ”The Armed Forces of Nigeria is apolitical and non-partisan as have been severally posited and demonstrated by the Chief of Defence Staff and other service chiefs as well as the personnel in the recently concluded general elections.
“Our role as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is to defend the territorial integrity of our fatherland and act in aid of civil authority when called upon to do so. That is our hallmark.”
“In the ongoing electioneering, we are not the lead security agency. Our role is supportive. We urge all politicians to please desist from dragging the Nigerian military into the murky water of politics. We remain apolitical.”