Political Violence: APC, PDP, LP Officials Trade Blames

   Advertisement Following a recent warning on political thuggery issued by National Security Adviser ahead of the 2023 elections, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), … Continue reading Political Violence: APC, PDP, LP Officials Trade Blames


A photo combination of Jospeh Ngilari (LP), Don Pedro Obaseki (PDP) and Bala Ibrahim (APC)

 

Following a recent warning on political thuggery issued by National Security Adviser ahead of the 2023 elections, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Labour Party (LP) have pointed accusing fingers at one another.

Representatives of the three political parties made the counter-accusations during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday.

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Monguno had warned state governors employing thugs to prevent opposition from mounting campaign materials in their domains that security agencies would soon descend on them. The NSA, who spoke on Thursday during a ministerial briefing in Abuja, further warned that there would be no hiding place for the perpetrators when the law enforcement agencies take steps. Reacting to reports of state governors implementing policies that prevent the presence of opposition campaign materials in their states, Monguno blamed the action on what he called inferiority complex.

Thuggery Has Reduced

Bala Ibrahim

 

But the Director of Information APC Bala Ibrahim argued that political thuggery had declined since the party took office in May 2015.

“Everyone knows for sure that the government of Buhari and APC have been doing well to reverse the situation that was obtainable under the PDP,” he said.

“When you look at the number of thugs, the number of people that have engaged in political misbehaviour from 1999 – when democracy came – to 2015, juxtapose it with (that) from 2015 to date, you find out that the figures are lower now than they were before.”

Make Someone A Scapegoat

Don Pedro Obaseki

 

Responding to Ibrahim, Director, Research and Strategy, PDP Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Don Pedro Obaseki, absolved his party of any blame, saying the PDP was the victim of political violence.

“I don’t want to say certain parties have raised propaganda to the levels of high art, even when we see it on television. It got to a point that even the National Broadcasting Commission as well as the broadcasting organisations of Nigeria had to plead with the Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle to please let peace reign.

“So far, in the public space, we are the victims, not the perpetrators. Even a couple of weeks ago, there was a necessity for us to cry. Even the National Peace Committee had to be written, particularly in very direct areas.

“We all know that in fact, raising the bar, it has become almost systemic where governors in certain states have now made it almost a policy of its own governance to deny access to places and use thugs to enforce such denials,” he said.

According to Obaseki, the NSA pointed to 52 indexed violations between October 8th and November 9th.

He urged Monguno to be assertive and use someone a scapegoat to serve as a deterrent to others who may see the election as an opportunity to take the lives of innocent Nigerians.

“If you use one person or one particular governor as a deterrent, the others will fall in line. The Benin say, ‘You no dey use mouth tell pikin say dey fear, na wetin you do for im eye.’ They (security agencies) have to come up and do something.

“I remember the woman running for a senatorial seat in Kogi State (PDP Kogi Central candidate, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan); she’s cried all over the place. A woman! There is a limit to elemental brigandage in the name of anything,” he said.

‘LP Most Victimised Party’

Joseph Ndirang

 

On his part, North Central Coordinator, LP PCC, Joseph Ndirang, alleged that his party was the most intimidated in the running.

He decried the introduction of a culture of using violence to win elections into the political arena, saying free, fair and credible elections are antithetical to the use of violence.

“There is no political party that has been intimidated like the Labour Party. When we flagged off our campaign in Nasarawa, the governor denied us a place for us to flag off the campaign. We had to go to an open school field to do that.

“(Governor Godwin) Obaseki also denied us a place to hold our rally in Benin (Edo State).

“It has come to a point where our people are being intimidated but no matter the intimidation, Nigerians are already determined that there must be a change in this country. And the change is going to come.”

But Don Pedro, refuted the accusation against his elder brother, saying the Edo State Government gave the LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi “the best” logistic support so far.

“The fact is, the rally was to hold on a Saturday and the application for the use of the stadium was made on a Friday. They had to even publish those things to say, this is what happened.

“But the vehicles that took Peter Obi around from Edo South to Edo North, a (distance) of more than 200km, was provided by the governor of the state,” the younger Obaseki said.

Attacks On INEC Offices

INEC office was attacked by arsonists on November 27, 2022.

 

The APC, PDP and LP presidential surrogates also acknowledged the attacks on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices in various states, calling for punitive action against the perpetrators.

Two weeks ago, the Commission lamented the spate of attacks on its offices, saying hoodlums had attacked 50 INEC offices in 21 states.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday, called for the arrest and prosecution of the culprits, “so that vandals and arsonists don’t feel that behaviour is acceptable in our country”.

“Five local government offices of the commission were attacked by yet unknown persons. Buildings are being destroyed, critical facilities lost,” he said.

“These facilities include a total of 1,992 ballot boxes, 399 voting cubicles and 22 electric-powered generators as well as thousands of uncollected PVCs. These attacks must stop and the perpetrators apprehended and prosecuted.”

Speaking about Sunday’s attack in Ebonyi State, the INEC boss described the situation as regrettable because the arsonists struck two days after electoral officials relocated to its office in the South-Eastern state.

In November, hoodlums attacked and burnt down INEC offices in Ebonyi, Ogun and Osun states.

“I agree there is increase in attacks on INEC offices and I want to suspect there is something sinister. I want to suspect there is plan by some people to cause chaos and confusion in order to sabotage the election,” Ibrahim said.

On the part of the LP, Ndirang attributed the recurrent attacks on INEC offices to an alleged failure of intelligence in Nigeria, saying the perpetrators of such attacks were known.

“There is a failure of intelligence in Nigeria. The intelligence committee is not doing its work and that is why things are happening and people are not saying anything,” he said.

“The failure of the intelligence is as a result of the inefficiency of the department that is responsible for issuing out intelligence before things happen.”

Peace Accord Violations

The Peace Accord has been signed in several elections in Nigeria. [email protected]

 

Blaming the APC, Obaseki argued that the PDP was on the receiving end of most of the political attacks in the lead-up to the 2023 elections.

He noted that the PDP made a commitment to the National Peace Committee, which includes several well-meaning Nigerians.

“If I remember clearly, with the benefit of hindsight, the only presidential candidate that didn’t show up was that of the APC. I think this shows that all the states where INEC offices have been burnt are also APC states,” Obaseki said.

However, checks by Channels Television showed that despite the most recent attacks occurring in states governed by the APC, an INEC office in PDP-led Enugu recorded an instance of arson in July.

Poverty Factor?

almajiri

 

Two weeks ago, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said 130 million Nigerians are poor.

In its 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index Survey released in Abuja, the NBS said the figure represents 63 per cent of the nation’s population.

On possible links between the spate of violent political attacks and the worsening rate of poverty in the country, the APC spokesman argued against the NBS’ findings.

“This is a sign of reduction of poverty: people are now engaged in productive enterprise as against thuggery and other violent behaviours,” he said.

But Obaseki described thuggery as “an almost direct derivative of the poverty level within the country”.

He noted that Nigeria had moved from being the largest economy in Africa as recalibrated in 2014 under former President Goodluck Jonathan to becoming the “poverty capital of the world.”

Responding to popular soundbite of the APC that the PDP subjected the country to 16 years of maladministration, Obaseki said, “They (APC) have weaponised poverty where our take home pay no longer can take us home”.