The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged security agents to investigate the alleged participation of foreigners in the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential rally in Kano State on Thursday.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, who made the call at a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday, was reacting to the presence of Issa Moussa and Zakiri Umar, governors of Zinder and Maradi states respectively in Niger Republic at the Kano APC rally.
Ologbondiyan said the Presidency and the ruling party must explain the roles being played by Moussa and Umar in Nigeria’ s political affairs. A chieftain of the ruling party, Nuhu Ribadu however defended the presence of the foreign officials at the APC Kano rally.
The PDP spokesman stated that apart from the two Nigerien governors, the ruling party allegedly smuggled a crowd of aliens from Niger Republic to populate President Buhari’s campaign rally in Kano State, after they could not get Nigerians to attend the rally.
He said it is worrisome that foreigners could come into the country to participate in the political process.
According to him, “President Buhari and the APC, in their desperation have compromised our territorial integrity as a nation and this portends grave danger to our national seurity and the sanctity of our electoral process.
“ For a nation contending with insurgency and banditry, the involvement of mercenaries from neighboring countries in the APC rally must be condemned by all and sundry. This is particularly against the backdrop of claims by President Buhari that killer herdsmen ravaging our nation are mercenaries who are infiltrating from the Sahel region.
“ Nigerians can now see the unfolding of the plots by agents the APC to use mercenaries from neighboring countries to precipitate crisis with the aim of scuttling the 2019 general election, having realized that they cannot win in a free, fair and credible election.”
Ologbondiyan added that “already, there are apprehensions that miscreants who came from Niger Republic to President Buhari’s rally are being offered accommodation in our country by the APC to unleash violence immediately it is clear that President Buhari is losing in the February 16 presidential election.
“On account of these, PDP demands an urgent and thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to the presence of politicians and thugs from Niger Republic at the APC presidential rally in Kano on Thursday.”
He noted that the PDP now understand the weight of the submission by the National Security Adviser (NSA) Maj. Gen. Babagana Mongunu (rtd) , who stated recently that; “unscrupulous elements are already mobilising merchants of violence, including armed bandits and terrorists to orchestrate violence during the elections in several states of the federation”.
“Similarly, Nigerians can also decode the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, when he stated recently that; ‘there is also an international dimension to the evil plan. Some armed mercenaries from the Niger Republic have been contracted to attack top government functionaries, including state governors, across the North-west between now and the elections.”
Speaking to newsmen on the sideline at a one-day workshop for participants in a programme organised by the APC presidential council field canvassers in Abuja, Ribadu warned that nobody should interfere in the fundamental rights of free movement as enshrined in the ECOWAS protocol.
He further insisted that though they may or may not make any appreciable impact in the outcome of the elections, however citizens of West African countries that feel strongly impressed with President Buhari’s performances are free to join his campaign.
Asked his take on the presence of two governors from Niger Republic at Buhari’s campaign in Kano, he replied: “For your information, it is a free world and it is the constitutional right of everyone to be where he wants to be. You have no right to curtail anybody from doing what he wants to do. People from West Africa are free to move into Nigeria. We have a protocol or agreement that they don’t need a visa to come into this country.
“I know for sure that they don’t have the vote but as a free West African who believe that someone has done extremely very well, and decided to identify himself with what he believes in, I don’t think there is anything wrong and I don’t think there is any crime committed. You cannot and you have no right as a Nigerian to stop them from exercising their fundamental right to identify with their friends.
“Their presence may or may not have any impact on Buhari’s re-election but they are entitle to identify with him. We have to guarantee their freedom because since their presence is within the law, we don’t have right to stop them,” he emphasised.
Earlier in his welcome address, he appealed that; “We have to join hands to rescue this nation, we don’t want things to go worse like they were before. We don’t want anyone to steal from our own common wealth again. We don’t want anyone to come and sell some things that belong to all of us to his own few friends. We want justice and fairness, we want to show that nobody is above the law in our own country.”
Similarly, the Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Babatunde Irukera, tutored the participants on responses to the claims against Buhari administration.