Atiku Says Death Threat To Suspected Ballot Box Snatchers Is An Offence Under Electoral Act

By Ifeanyi Ochonogor

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has characterized threatening people with death in the context of election as incitement to electoral violence; which is an offence under the electoral act.

In a statement on Monday, February 18, by his media aide, Phrank Shaibu, Atiku described Buhari’s comment as an offence going by the provisions of the electoral act and that the retired general is only showing his true colours.

According to the statement, Atiku said the president has “complete’ disregard for the country’s laws.

“We were shocked to hear General Buhari live on national television threatening to kill people for an offence where no such proscription exists under law.  The last time we looked the death-penalty was not a sanction of the 2010 election act,” he said.

“In fact, threatening people with death in the context of an election is incitement to electoral violence, which is an offence under that act.

“Once again General Buhari is showing his true colours and complete disregard for our constitution and the laws of this country. He is getting confused with when he was President under military rule.

“His fig leaf of being a ‘reformed democrat’ has been blown away by this latest statement leaving his democratic credentials as naked as the day he was born.”

Abubakar said he would establish Electoral Fraud Commission (EFC) to check malpractices during polls.

“I have always been a democrat and defender of our laws and constitution,” he said.

“So rather than make up new penalties on the spot in a press conference, our plans to establish the EFC by using the framework of the 2002 establishing act of the EFCC have been well researched so that we can introduce this new entity within days of assuming office.

“Likewise, we do not believe in the principle of retrospective legislation so it will be empowered to investigate and prosecute electoral malpractice based on the 2010 Electoral Act.  Any person considering conducting electoral malpractice, inciting violence or the illegal arrest of political opponents should be put on notice that my administration on entering office will apply the full force of the law on them.

“We do not believe that one illegal act deserves another so a PDP government will always operate within the framework of our legal structures and laws.”

The former vice president warned against the use of the military for “mundane” matters and submitted that the over-exposure of the Armed Forces in a Democracy has its inherent dangers.