Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State has accused the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC), Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, of divisive campaigns in the northern and southern parts of the country.
Stating this yesterday at the Malam Aminu Kano Triangle during the official declaration of the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and a former chief of staff, Malam Aminu Ibrahim Ringim, alongside his running mate, Dr Nurudeen Mohammad, Lamido noted that a critical look at the situation on the ground exposes people like Buhari as being insincere in both intent and purpose.
Elaborating, Lamido alleged that when Buhari talks to the electorate in the North, he usually plays up the religious card, but once he is in the South, he plays it down by harping on the unity of Nigeria.
Lamido wondered why Buhari had gone out of his way to select a Christian as his running mate and what this portends, adding: “Why then are our people vilified and maligned because they refuse to vote for a Muslim as their president and have opted for a Christian?
“If not, why is it that he chose a Christian as his running mate and shunned the Muslim community, then he turns round to tell the people in the North that his contest is anchored on promoting and guiding their ideological faith.”
The governor was of the opinion that “so long as we want Nigeria to get out of her present predicament, we must be sincere in the way we practise democracy so as to avoid a bloodbath and the rampant killing of Nigerians because of the interest of a few individuals."
Not stopping at blaming solely the former military head of state, Lamido said the main problem of Nigeria today politically speaking is the duo of President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP and his main rival, Buhari, who will be squaring up against each other in the 2015 presidential election.
Lamido said except they are ready to clearly distinguish between their interests and the corporate existence of Nigeria as an indivisible entity, the country would be heading for doom.
He said Nigeria is at a crossroads and blamed the two personalities for the impending danger ahead of the nation.
He warned that after the declaration of the winner of the 2015 presidential election, there could be mayhem if the provocative statements of the supporters of both candidates are anything to go by.
According to him, “Buhari and Jonathan are the albatross of the nation due to their desperation to lead Nigeria at all cost."
Lamido, who did not want to be seen as an alarmist, said: “Today a vote for either of them could lead Nigeria to an untimely division as well as push others to their early graves.
“We have heard the devilish pronouncements of people like Edwin Clark and Dokubo Asari and Buba Galadima, among others who were predicting a bad end for the country should we Nigerians fail to a vote for either Jonathan or General Buhari and going by what their supporters are preaching, if either of them fails to scale through, it could destabilise Nigeria.”
Lamido, however, hoped that Nigeria will survive the intrigues, adding that it was unfortunate that their supporters are preaching doom for the nation.
He urged the Jigawa electorate, especially members of the PDP to vote for the candidates of their choice and told them not be intimidated or coerced into inappropriate decisions.
Other candidates at the declaration rally were the three senatorial contenders who were handed the party’s flags to gun for their respective seats during the forthcoming elections.
Also speaking, the Vice-Chairman, North-west of the PDP, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Kazaure, who represented the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, said the fact remains always that the PDP is still the party for the people of Nigeria.
He described the huge crowd of PDP supporters in the state as an indication of victory for the party in the state, adding that its governorship candidate was just waiting for the time to be sworn in.
Speaking earlier, Ringim, who spoke on behalf of other candidates, extolled the virtue of Lamido and described him as a role model.
Meanwhile, APC has assured Nigerians and the international community that it will do all in its power to make sure that the 2015 general election is violence-free, saying the rising apprehension about the polls among the populace is inimical to the conduct of a successful election.
In a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party however said its efforts should be complemented by the PDP-led federal government, which has a propensity for using the security agencies to harass and intimidate the opposition and ordinary citizens.
It also said the federal government should take all measures necessary to ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible, since rigging and other acts of electoral malfeasance constitute the immediate trigger for anger and violence during and after elections.
“We have heard from Nigerians who are so afraid about possible violence during the forthcoming election that they are even willing to relocate to other countries until after the elections. But as the biggest opposition party in Nigeria and a major stakeholder in our nation’s democracy, we are assuring, on our part, that there will be no violence.
“Though our party has no history of violence, we have commenced a nationwide effort to sensitise our members and supporters on the need to eschew rancour and embrace non-violent methods, even in the face of the kind of provocations to which we were subjected during the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, when our members were needlessly harassed, arrested and detained by partisan security agencies acting under orders from the FG.
“If the federal government allows a level playing field for all contestants, if the security agencies stop acting as the armed wing of the ruling PDP, if the electoral umpire will carry out its duties without fear, favour or bias and if citizens are allowed to exercise their franchise unmolested, the stage will be set for a non-violent, free, fair and credible polls.
“In other words, the government has a major role to play in making the forthcoming polls peaceful. On our part, in addition to other efforts aimed at ensuring a peaceful election, we pledge to accept the result of an election that is not only free, fair, credible and transparent, but one that is also seen to be so. We hope other parties will make a similar pledge,” APC said.
The party said it demonstrated, during its recent rancour-free and festive national convention in Lagos, that elections should be a celebration of democracy, rather than a moment of fear, violence and threat to lives.
It said far from mere rhetoric, it had taken practical steps, as far back as May 2014, to work with the PDP to ensure violence-free polls in 2015.
“Following up on a meeting of representatives of both parties in Washington, DC, US, April 7-8 2014 under the auspices of the CSIS Nigeria Election Forum, at which it was agreed that a joint meeting of both parties be convened to discuss and agree on the crucial issue of a code of conduct for the campaigns and the elections, we wrote a letter to the PDP suggesting a bipartisan meeting to address the issue.
“The PDP agreed to the proposal and suggested that it should be expanded to include the leadership of other political parties in the country. However, problem with logistics meant that the meeting did not hold.
“Even with the little time left for the election to hold, we strongly believe that a meeting of the leadership of the two political parties, the APC and the PDP, will send a powerful message to our compatriots and indeed the international com