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Jonathan, military aligning to subvert democracy, says Odigie-Oyegun

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NIGERIA’S military high command is into an unholy alliance with President Goodluck Jonathan to subvert the country’s democracy, the National Chairman of opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun alleged yesterday.

   At a press conference in Abuja, Odigie-Oyegun said his position was based on the series of events leading to the postponement of the general elections earlier scheduled to begin next weekend.

   Flanked by several chieftains of the party and governors, he claimed that he was privy to an information that President Jonathan had already ordered key commanders to a three-day “strategy meeting” in Kaduna, aimed at perfecting plans to intimidate and harass APC supporters nationwide.

   He expressed skepticism that elections would hold on the rescheduled dates in March, noted that President Jonathan is keen on plunging the country into an avoidable constitutional crisis that could render the Rwanda ethnic cleansing a child’s play.

   He further alleged that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has compromised the leadership of the military to serve President Jonathan’s personal agenda. 

   Stating that the e military’s role in the recent Ekiti State elections was demonstrable proof of its compromise, he wondered if not having “enough personnel to provide security for the elections” meant not having “enough soldiers to intimidate voters in favour of the ruling party if the elections had proceeded as scheduled?”

   “It is important to note that the Service Chiefs’ letter to INEC demanded postponement for ‘at least’ 6 weeks. This, we must note, is a booby trap,” he said. “Embedded in that phrase ‘at least’ is a window to push for another postponement. 

   “It is clear, however, that any further postponement can only lead to a constitutional crisis. The constitution demands at least 30 days before the handover date of May 29. We have strong suspicions but hope this postponement is not part of an agenda to create a constitutional crisis in the country. 

   “We are all witnesses to the way INEC was intimidated into postponement of the elections despite repeated assurances of its readiness. We are aware of plans for worse intimidation in the days ahead. We are aware of plans to intimidate and orchestrate arrest of our leaders across the country on frivolous grounds. 

   “We are now aware of how PDP used intimidation and arrest to rig the last governorship election in Ekiti. We are aware that this is the plan of the PDP. But we have no doubt that Nigerians will stand up to this. We have no doubt that the international community is watching.”

   The APC chief further accused Jonathan of fanning the embers of discord in the polity, noting: “Never in the history of our country had a Federal Government and the President of Nigeria so wantonly mobilized ethnic and religious sentiments to divide the people against themselves for selfish political reasons. 

   “By now, everyone is aware how a close confidant of President Jonathan, Chief Edwin Clark, called for the sack and arrest of the chairman of INEC because, according to him, the INEC chairman is working for the interest of the north. He said this under aegis of a Southern Nigerian People’s Assembly. 

   “We are also aware of how the Vice President of Nigeria, Namadi Sambo, unfortunately invoked religious sentiment to campaign for his party in Niger State. The level of ethnic and religious baiting that we are currently witnessing is unprecedented in the political history of Nigeria. 

   “Only few days ago, the Director of National Information Centre, Mr. Mike Omeri, claimed that government has uncovered a plan by Boko Haram to bomb polling centres without providing single shred of evidence. The following day, President Jonathan declared in a church in Lagos that Boko Haram has planned to bomb the entire country. 

   “We see this as deliberate scare-mongering to discourage Nigerians from coming out to exercise their democratic right to vote. This is quite unfortunate. The President that should be protecting the people and assuring them of their safety is now the one scaring them.


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