The presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari was showing his “true colours and complete disregard for the constitution” by saying ballot boxes’ snatchers would be doing so at the expense of their lives.
Atiku, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, said threatening people with death in the context of an election “is incitement to electoral violence.”
Atiku, who kicked against the plan to deploy soldiers for the 2019 general elections, describing it as an anomaly in democracy, also condemned alleged “intimidation tactics of the Federal Government.
Responding to Buhari’s remark that the military and the police had been directed to be ruthless at ballot boxes’ snatchers, Atiku said deployment of troops “creates an atmosphere of warfare, which in turn heats up the polity, which is why it is not a common occurrence in other climes during elections.”
He also kicked against alleged “arrest of perceived members of the opposition ahead of elections,” describing it as anti-democratic.
“We were shocked to hear General Buhari live on national television threatening to kill people for an offense where no such proscription exists under law. The last time we looked, the death-penalty was not a sanction of the 2010 Election Act. In fact, threatening people with death in the context of an election is incitement to electoral violence, which is an offense under that Act,” he said.
He said he was not surprised that such a remark was coming from “the leader of a political party that has threatened that foreigners who intervene in the forthcoming elections should be sent home in body bags.
“The reason the APC-controlled federal government will want to deploy the military is not to stem the rising cases of violence, but for the simple reason that the APC wants to use the military to intimidate the opposition and pave the way for rigging.
“Once again, General Buhari is showing his true colours and completedisregard for our constitution and the laws of this country. He is getting confused with when he was President under military rule. His fig leaf of being a ‘reformed democrat’ has been blown away by this latest statement leaving his democratic credentials as naked as the day he was born.”
Atiku recalled that during his interview on “The Candidates” last month, he had hinted of the establishment of the Electoral Fraud Commission to deal, in line the laws of the land, with matters relating to electoral offences.