The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dismissed media reports indicating that the National Peace Committee (NPC) has prevailed on the party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar not to challenge the outcome of the February 23 presidential election in court.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja on Friday, the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said although Atiku and some chieftains of the party met with the leaders of the NPC on Thursday, no conditions were given regarding the decision of the PDP to seek redress in court.
According to the party chair, the PDP briefed the NPC leaders on the party’s grievances in the just concluded presidential election and also its decision to seek legal redress.
He further stated that the NPC team comprising Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd); Bishop Mathew Kukah and Cardinal John Onayeikan did not persuade the aggrieved PDP leaders to drop the court option.
Secondus said: “When they came, they met with us and they requested us to please state our grievances. There was no condition.
“Initially, we were not to talk with them because a decision had been taken to go to court. But because of the personalities involved, we said ok, let’s just talk.
“There were no conditions and there was no request of any condition. We made it clear that unless the injustices are addressed, there is no room for peace.
“It is only when you address the injustice that you can now sit down for peace.
“So, whatever interpretation that was done by anybody, let it be clear to everybody that we did not give conditions, they did not request for conditions.
“It was like, look, state what really happened in the election and we told them how the military took over the election and conducted the election in favour of the APC with INEC collusion”.
The party chair deplored what he described as voter suppression in states considered the strongholds of the PDP, alleging that soldiers were deployed to harass, intimidate and arrest voters and party supporters in such states,
He listed Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Cross Rivers as worst affected states in the alleged military siege, adding the threat by the Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State that foreign observers would go back to their country in body bags was extended to Nigerians on during the election.
Secondus said: “As at the last count, over 50 Nigerians have lost their lives last Saturday, most of them from the South South region where a division of the army with their commander were turned on the people on the Election Day.
“For a regime that appears comfortable with blood, the deaths they recorded during their campaigns were not enough, as after their contrived ballot box victory and stolen mandate, they still hired some hoodlums and sent them to the streets to go and kill themselves.
“You can see that the nation has been in sorrowful mood for our democracy that was dragged down last Saturday, four years after the world stood up for Nigeria for not only conducting a flawless election, in addition to having a seamless transition to an opposition party.
“But we all are seeing the direct beneficiary of that rare democratic disposition, General Muhammadu Buhari, using the military to rob Nigerians of their right to choose leaders of their choice”.
The party chair queried the higher voter turnout in insurgency-ravaged states like Borno and Yobe above the 2015 figures, whereas states like Rivers and others in the South-south zone recorded lower voter turnout in the last election than they did in 2015.
He said: “The clear effect of militarising the election, particularly in the South South and South East in addition to the killing of innocent electorate, was the obvious suppression of voters who were either scared out or chased away.
“Even by INEC own record, voter turnout in last Saturday’s election fell to about 36 percent from 44 percent that it was in 2015.
“The military were dragged into the election to suppress and scare away voters and facilitate rigging.
“That is how you hear ridiculously that war torn Borno and Yobe states recorded higher percentage in voter turnout than some states in the South South geo- political zone.
“Shamelessly, they have again started mobilizing to use the same military to forcefully take over for APC two PDP states in the South South and one state in the South East.”