Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
As activities gather momentum for the 2023 polls, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, of plotting to truncate the forthcoming elections and derail Nigeria’s budding democracy.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, who made the allegation Sunday, in a press statement, said that the ruling party was getting frustrated because it had discovered that its presidential candidate had a lot of baggage weighing down on his candidacy, hence, its resort to derailing the entire 2023 elections.
“As we prepare for the 2023 general elections, the APC is busy scheming to create tension, induce violence, frustrate the conduct of the 2023 general elections and derail our democratic process having realized that it does not have an eligible presidential candidate for the polls,” the statement made available to Ikengaonline read.
It further read: “It is no longer news that the Presidential Candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is irredeemably and hopelessly ineligible to contest the February 2023 presidential election having been reportedly indicted and subjected to criminal forfeiture judgment for a narcotic related offence by a United States Court in Northern Illinois.
“Nigerians are however appalled by the lame attempt by the APC Presidential Campaign which after accepting that there was a $460,000 drug money criminal forfeiture judgment against accounts traced to the APC Presidential Candidate, is now desperately trying to pull a wool over the eyes of the Nigerians people and our democratic institutions.
“Seeing that it is technically out of the Presidential contest and further distraught because it cannot also field candidates at all levels in the 2023 general elections due to its legal and unconstitutional congresses, the APC has resorted to unleashing hoodlums to attack PDP Presidential Campaign rallies and other innocent Nigerians going about their legitimate endeavors as witnessed in Kaduna and Borno States, in a bid to trigger crises, and scuttle the elections.”
PDP asked Tinubu to withdraw from the presidential race and apologize to Nigerians over his role in the circumstances that warranted his forfeiture of $460,000 in his US accounts.
“What Nigerians expect of Asiwaju Tinubu at this moment is to withdraw from the Presidential race and apologize to the nation The APC must come to terms that it is not in the Presidential race and that it has no legitimate candidate at all levels in the 2023 general elections as pronounced by the Federal High Court.
“The PDP therefore reminds Nigerians that any vote for the APC at the Presidential. Governorship, National and State Assembly elections are wasted votes that will not count at the end of the day.”
The PDP challenged the ruling party to come out clean on the attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in parts of the country.
“There are already apprehensions in the public space of un-refuted allegations that the APC is behind the orchestrated attacks on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices in Ogun and Osun States.
The plan of the APC is to instill fear in the citizenry, disorganize and weaken other political parties, frighten, hamstring and demobilize INEC from conducting the 2023 general election.
“The APC must note that its schemes, denials, threats and resort to violence cannot help Asiwaju Tinubu. By the Provision of Section 137 (1) id) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) Asiwaju Tinubu is not eligible to contest the Presidential elections on Nigeria.
“Section 137 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that (1) A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if:
“(d) He is under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or for any other offence imposed on him by ANY COURT or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on them by such a court or tribunal.
“For clarity, forfeiture is means “something to which the right is lost as for commission of a crime or misdeed, neglect of duty or violation of a contract.”
PDP challenged the APC presidential flag bearer to prove his innocence in the alleged drug trafficking indictment hanging on him.
“It is instructive to note that trafficking in narcotic is an international crime to which all nations are obliged and mandated to apprehend, prosecute and enforce any judgement or Court Order imposed on offender Nigeria being a signatory to international convention on trafficking in narcotic is obliged to enforce any Order or judgement imposed on any offender by a competent court ANYWHERE in the world.
“For emphasis the US Court “Ordered that the funds in the amount of $460,000 in account 263226700 held by First Heritage Bank in the name of Bola Tinubu represent proceeds of narcotics trafficking or were involved in financial transactions in violation of 18 U.S.C. 51956 and 1957 and, therefore, these funds are forfeited to the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C, $881(aN6) and 18 US.CS981°.
“Having been sentenced and fined by way of criminal forfeiture of $460,000 drug money in a criminal suit filed pursuant to the United States Criminal Code, Asiwaju Tinubu cannot by virtue of Section 137 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979 (as amended) seek office as President of Nigeria.
“Nigerians now know that the APC Presidential Campaign announcement that its Presidential Candidate will not Participate in media debates is to prevent Nigerians from seeking answers from Asiwaju Tinubu with respect to the criminal forfeiture judgment as well as other burning issues to which Nigerians are entitled to know.
“Of course, our nation cannot afford the embarrassment, shame, national indignity and stigma associated with narcotic all over the world especially in the exalted office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
PDP decried the condition of Nigeria’s economy under the watch of APC, and warned Nigerians against allowing APC to retain power beyond 2023.
“Nigeria cannot handle the massive negative collateral damage such will have on our national image, economy as well as on the businesses and legitimate endeavors of hard-working Nigerians.”
The PDP urged INEC not to allow itself to be intimidated by the APC.
“The PDP calls on INEC not to succumb to the blackmail of the APC but to be focused and carry out Its duties in accordance with the Constitution and the Electoral Act so as to engender confidence in the citizens with respect to the integrity of those seeking public office in our country.”