By Uche Mbah
The allegations and counter allegations emanating from the two major contending political parties, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, over the plan for interim government have sent jitters down the spine of the political class, with politicians and business men alike going back to the drawing board to factor such eventuality into their political calculations.
Already, many multinational blue chip companies, this Magazine learnt, are planning on skeletal services from the beginning of February until the election is over. Most expatriate workers have been allegedly advised by their home countries to take up casual leave until the election is over.
“The election period is a very dicey period”, says a company secretary to one of the blue chip companies. “Security reports are not encouraging.”
Insinuations by former president Olusegun Obasanjo that the current Buhari administration is desperate to hang on to power has resulted in verbal brickbats between the APC and PDP, with the APC attacking the former president on all fronts. While the PDP said they have been vindicated by the missive from Obasanjo, the APC government, through Lai Mohamed, the information Minister, insisted that it was the PDP that has been planning to destabilize the country. According to Mohamed, Boko Haram and Bandits have been mobilized to cause mayhem in ten states of the federation.
“We have credible intelligence that armed bandits and Boko Haram insurgents have been mobilized to engage in massive attacks and other acts of violence in several states across the country, including Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara. The Benue-based armed criminal group, led by Terwase Akwaza, also known as Gana, has been commissioned to strike soft targets in Benue, Nasarawa, and Taraba states. In Kano State, a group of notorious miscreants have been mobilized by some prominent opposition leaders to provoke massive chaos before, during and after the elections.” According to him, anyone that thinks his statements were aimed at framing the opposition is doing nothing but trivializing the issue. He also alleged that mercenaries from Niger Republic are hired to attack top political personalities.
The federal government has always insisted that Boko Haram has been technically defeated.
But the PDP has dismissed the allegation as a sign of desperation on the side of the Presidency.
“The PDP calls on Nigerians to hold President Buhari directly responsible for any escalation of violence in our nation. It is imperative to state that the PDP finds the claims of Mohammed, irresponsible and ludicrous. It is just a measure for building the ground to frame up and arrest leading members of the opposition as he has just confirmed our concerns. Severally, we have alerted the nation that the APC and the Presidency, having come to the reality of their imminent and disgraceful loss at the polls, have embarked on a strategy to foment crisis in our dear nation and blame the opposition.”
Politicians, however, are worried that both political parties have not denied the possibility of violence, but instead are tossing blames back and forth like badminton. A politician that the magazine spoke to was skeptical, though he does not want to be named. “If the parties are not denying the allegations, then the plan for causing commotion through the polls and institute have to make contingency arrangements.’ Asked what arrangements he will make, he smiled and said, “wait and see”.
The international community has harped on free and fair elections, while the Opposition PDP believes that the electoral Umpire, the Independent National Electoral commission, INEC, and the security agencies are working for the ruling party.