Being text of the press conference addressed by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Lagos on Monday, March 23rd 2015.
Good afternoon gentlemen and thanks for honouring our invitation, once again.
As you are very much aware, the final countdown has begun to the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for Saturday, March 28th.
As the clock ticks toward the D-Day, we are compelled to alert Nigerians, local and foreign election observers and indeed the international community to the strategy being employed by the PDP-led Jonathan Administration to manipulate the elections, using what we call the Modified Ekiti Rigging Strategy.
It is no longer news that a Captain in the Nigerian Army, Sagir Koli, has exposed how the Administration used the military to rig the Governorship Election in Ekiti on June 21st 2014. According to Capt. Sagir, soldiers were put at the behest of designated PDP officials at each of the 16 local governments in the state to work with the officials to rig the elections.
Once the PDP officials pointed out any APC leader in a particular local government, such leader was either arrested and detained or simply hounded into hiding. APC leaders who were arrested also had the funds in their possession, including money to pay party agents and for other logistics, confiscated as they were detained till well after the election.
Gentlemen, we have additional information to give you on what has now become Ekitigate. Contrary to the general belief, it was not just the military that was involved. It was the entire gamut of the nation’s security agencies: The police, the State Security Service (SSS) and the Civil Defence. They were all constituted into a task force that was deployed to each local government and placed under the command of the PDP. We have the names of all the servicemen involved in the criminal act, as well as their service and telephones numbers. On the morning of the Ekiti election, not one APC leader was a free man or woman. They were either in detention, in hiding or on the run, because the task force carried out its duty with brutal efficiency.
In view of the global outcry over the Ekiti show of shame, there is a plan to slightly modify it for Saturday’s election, hence what we have now termed the Modified Ekiti Rigging Strategy. Since indications are that the military is no longer willing to be used for such an illegal act, and other security agencies know they will be under the searchlight on election days, those who are averse to a free, fair, credible and violence-free polls have simply come up with the plan to sew military and police uniforms for their party thugs to wear on election day so they can rig the elections for the PDP! A large number of uniformed personnel on election day will be those donning fake uniforms and ranks, and their mandate will be to rig for the PDP and terrorize opposition members and supporters.
They have also mobilized ethnic militias across the country: MASSOB in the South East; OPC in the South West and ex-militants in the Niger Delta. Mobilized under the pretext of a 9 billion Naira pipeline contract, the marching order given to the ethnic militias is to destabilize the election in their respective regions, thus rendering it inconclusive. After all, the PDP knows it cannot win a free, fair and peaceful election. The highly disruptive and armed protest by the OPC in Lagos last Monday was a dress rehearsal for the plot.
Also, thugs have been trained in several South Western States, particularly Ondo and Ogun States, to disrupt the coming elections. In Ondo State, training was organized by the PDP new leadership in Ilaje/Okitipupa zone. These thugs, numbering over 300, were given two weeks training in weapons use under a Commander/President called Miti. They have now been moved in 12 buses to join the Ogun State Group from where they will be dispatched to other states in the South West, with arms.
For the Northern part of the country, the plot is to deploy the Special Forces, who were trained in Belarus, to the liberated territories in the North East, ostensibly to hold the liberated territories but in reality to rig the election for the PDP. Also, Vice President Namadi Sambo has met with security chiefs in Kaduna with a request that they must deliver 2 million votes to the PDP anyhow, with promises of mouth-watering incentives include cash and promotion
Gentlemen, the Inspector-General of Police and the Service Chiefs are also part of the plot. You will recall the unlawful warning issued by the IGP urging voters to cast their ballot and immediately leave the polling units. A similar order is expected to be issued by the Chief of Army Staff ahead of the election, and the orders are aimed at harassing and intimidating voters as well as ensuring they do not stay around to prevent the PDP rigging plans. We urge Nigerians to ignore such unlawful directives which are not grounded in the Electoral Act, as pointed out by the INEC Chairman. Nigerians must not only vote, they must stay behind to protect their votes. Without being disruptive, they should use their phone cameras to document proceedings at the various polling booths, so that no one will tamper with their votes. All they are required to do is to conduct themselves peacefully.
We are here to sound the alarm loud and clear: We will not accept accept a repeat of the Ekiti rigging strategy in any form, modified or not. Voters must not be harassed or intimidated and they must be allowed to defend their votes, as supported by the Electoral Act. Those who are bent on rigging the elections must know that Nigeria will be under a global spotlight on election day. No polling booth, no matter where it is located, will escape that spotlight.
In this regard, we want to commend the international friends of our country, Nigeria, in particular the United States and Britain, for their support in making sure that the forthcoming elections are free, fair, credible and violence-free. Many of you must have read the OP-ED page article jointly written by US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Phillip Hammond.
We at the APC associate ourselves with that timely article, in which the authors urged ”all eligible Nigerians to vote, resist those who attempt to incite violence, and to come together as one country to defend the country against terrorist threats”.
They went further: ”There are good reasons why the international spotlight is firmly fixed on Nigeria during this critical period and why we have come together to support an open and credible electoral process. Nigeria is Africa’s largest democracy and what happens there will have an impact well beyond its borders. A successful election, free from violence and with wide participation, accurate vote counting, and responsible leadership from the candidates would inspire the region and spur future progress and prosperity. It would also be a historic show of support by
Nigerians for democratic values and an equally firm rejection of the brutal terrorist group, Boko Haram, and others who advocate or perpetrate violence.”
We urge all our members and supporters, and indeed all Nigerians, to show uncommon courage and patriotism by doing whatever it takes, lawfully, to defend their votes. We urge them to repudiate those who are planning to foment chaos or rig the polls.
To those planning to disrupt or rig the elections and instigate violence, we ask them to heed the warning signals from the international community, as aptly conveyed by Mr. John Kerry and Mr Phillip Hammond, that ”any person who incites violence at any stage in the electoral process, or who seeks power through unconstitutional means, should be held accountable and should understand that the consequences will be severe, both domestically and internationally”.
As they say, a word is enough for the wise!
I thank you for listening
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)
Lagos, March 23rd 2015