The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has urged voters across the country not to be scared by what the party described as a shoot-at-sight directive against would-be ballot box snatchers.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, during the week, ordered the military and other security agencies to deal ruthlessly with anyone caught snatching ballot boxes during Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja on Thursday, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus urged Nigerians to be focused and refuse to be intimidated as they go out to cast their votes.
The party chair described the President’s directive a ploy to manipulate the result of the elections.
Secondus said: “When the President threatened the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after the elections, the intention was to frighten and cow them into playing along with the All Progressives Congress (APC) agenda.
“When they harass, arrest and block bank accounts of the opposition stakeholders, what they want is to win at all cost.
“When they drag military institutions into politics, the aim is obviously to destroy that institution the way they are doing to the legislature and the judiciary.
“But I urge you Nigerians to refuse to be intimidated or provoked but remain focused and fix your eyes on the ball, which is victory that is coming on Sunday.”
The chairman appealed to stakeholders in the election, particularly the INEC, security agencies and political party agents, to remember that the election is about Nigeria.
“This election is about rescuing this country, it’s about sustaining our democracy”, he added.
Chairman of the Strategy Committee of the PDP Presidential Organisation, Osita Chidoka, said that the world is watching Nigeria and urged voters to be patient, peaceful and tolerant.
He urged Nigerians to demonstrate to Africa and the world that the country is irrevocably committed to democracy, transparency and the rule of law.
Chidoka said the PDP had learnt its lessons from previous elections and was determined to give Nigerians the confidence that their votes, as expressed at the ballot, will count.
According to him, the PDP is fully prepared to resist intimidation, extra judicial procedures and partisanship on the part of security agencies.
Chidoka said: “We remind security agencies that it is only an election and not a war against Nigerians. The choice of language of the government and security chiefs leaves us with the impression that the peaceful election of 2015 is not the model for 2019 election.
“We call on the military, the police, and all other security agents to do their patriotic duty to the citizens of this great country, hold true to their legal mandate, display their commitment to the rule of law, act with restraint and in accordance with the law. Regardless of party, our security forces serve and protect Nigeria and her citizens first.
“As the party to beat in this election, we assure Nigerians that we are prepared to work with voters to #DefendYourVote.
“Our innovative Simultaneous Vote Count System (SVC) has been deployed to ensure that the result of the polling units remain the trusted source to validate the final collated results.
“The SVC is a crisis de-escalation mechanism that will assure that PDP members accept the results of a free and fair election and that the country remains peaceful and respectful of its differences”.
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