In an interview on March 22, Datti Baba-Ahmed, vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), said the country has no president-elect despite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announcing Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the February 25 election.
The LP vice-presidential candidate said Tinubu would be leading an unconstitutional government if sworn into office because the APC candidate “has not met requirements of the law.…..CONTINUE YOUR READING
His comments elicited widespread criticism from political stakeholders.
Reacting to the outburst, Festus Keyamo, minister of state for labour, accused LP of “setting up a scene for rebellion” against the judiciary.
The minister added that Datti was attempting to “blackmail” the judiciary with his interpretation of section 134 (2) 1999 constitution (as amended).
On his part, Femi Fani-Kayode, new media director of the APC presidential campaign council, accused Datti of trying to “pull down democracy” because his party lost the election.
APC also petitioned the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction Channels Television for airing the interview, adding that it was not only “divisive, subversive, but also inciting and inflammatory”. The TV station would later be fined N5 million by NBC for the interview.
Datti’s comments also met criticism outside the political circle. Wole Soyinka, the playwright and Nobel laureate, said it contained “fascistic language”.
All these played out amid an announcement by the Department of State Services (DSS) that “some key players” want to install an interim government and stop Bola Ahmed Tinubu from being inaugurated as president.
The security service added that the plot includes embarking on violent protests nationwide to engineer the declaration of a state of emergency as well as securing frivolous court injunctions to stall the inauguration.
The situation made for a fertile ground for the federal government to point fingers and it soon did.
On April 4, Lai Mohammed, minister for information, accused Peter Obi, LP presidential candidate, of inciting people to violence over the outcome of the presidential election.
Lai wielded the consequential stick of “treason” to describe the conduct of the LP presidential and vice-presidential candidates. He painted them as “desperate” politicians seeking to incite insurrection.
APC has been fierce in its condemnation of what it tagged the Labour Party’s “insurrection” against democracy.
However, the ruling party is also guilty of riling up the polity. In the build-up to the 2015 presidential election, some key members of the APC threatened to form a “parallel government” if the election was not free and fair.
Below are some instances when key APC members made the public call for a “parallel government” during the lead-up to the 2015 presidential election.
OSIBANJO IN WASHINGTON D.C.
At a town hall meeting in Washington DC, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was asked if the APC was indeed planning a “parallel government” should the party feel aggrieved by the 2015 presidential election result.
In a now-viral video, Osinbajo replied that the PDP had a history of mismanaging elections and APC had indeed insisted that if such happened in the 2015 election, then a parallel government would be established.
“It’s important to bear in mind that it is really up to the ruling government (PDP) to ensure that elections are free and fair. And we made our points repeatedly that it is up to the ruling party to ensure the election is fair. Every time there is a free and fair election, there would be absolutely no crisis,” he said.
“You will never find crisis anywhere there is a free and fair election. For instance, in the June 12 election we are talking about, there was no violence because it was free and fair.
“In the event, and the APC has said, that there is electoral robbery, that is, being robbed of our rightful votes, that will establish a parallel government. We certainly provide morals and sanity for the people of Nigeria.”
AMAECHI: IF YOU RIG US OUT, WE WILL RIG OURSELVES IN
Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers state, had joined APC from PDP and was one of the political stalwarts poached by the opposition to clinch power in the 2015 election.
According to TheNation, Amaechi also threatened that the APC would resort to constituting its own parallel government if PDP failed to deliver a “free and fair election”.
On November 24, 2014, the former Rivers governor spoke in Abuja and said APC had met and agreed to “install our own government” should the party sense any foul play.
“What is the essence of going to court when the federal government doesn’t obey the law? That’s why the APC says we won’t go to court any longer,” Amaechi said.
“If you rig us out, we will rig ourselves in. This means if you think you can rig us out in 2015, we will form our own government. We have met on that and we have agreed on that. We will install our own government and there will be two governments.
“The only way to avoid a parallel government is to have a free and fair election. You can’t continue to use the police as if it is a private agency or company of the government.”
APC: WE WILL NO LONGER ENGAGE IN NICETY
After the statement by Amaechi generated widespread criticism from the Jonathan administration and PDP sympathisers, APC released a statement to reaffirm its stance on constituting a parallel government.
Lai, who was the party’s spokesperson, in a statement, warned PDP that “the gloves are off” and that the APC will no longer engage in any nicety.
“Those who are fretting about this statement are those who are planning to rig the elections, and they should be warned that Nigerians will no longer accept the outcome of any fraudulent polls. Those who incite the people are those who steal their mandate,” Lai said.
“What we made is a conditional statement. If A happens, then B will follow. That means if elections are not rigged, there will be no problem. It is, therefore, laughable that anyone will call that statement treasonable.
“Because it is said that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, we will constantly warn the PDP and the federal government not to tamper with the 2015 elections. We will constantly chide them for trying to institutionalise impunity. We cannot and will not be intimidated by an uptight presidency.
“For us, the gloves are off. We will no longer engage in any nicety as long as some people are bent on thwarting the will of the people through electoral fraud. All we are demanding is a free, fair and credible election. All we are saying is that no one should incite the people by stealing their mandate. How these demands can be construed to mean treason is as baffling as the do-or-die disposition of the ruling PDP to elections..…..CONTINUE YOUR READING