By Akanimo Sampson
A strategic and political risk consultancy, Menas Associates, has indicted President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying they used every trick at their disposal to win the February 23 presidential election.
Mrnas which has been helping multinational companies operate in the Middle East, Africa, and other emerging markets since the late 1970s claimed that the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the distribution of largesse on the campaign trail, deployment of security forces, and the sporadic use of thugs helped the ruling party greatly.
The political risk consultants who also provide actionable intelligence for their clients, from country entry strategies, to due diligence, stakeholder analysis, political risk reports, market assessments, problem solving and exit strategies, pointed out that there are concerns about an APC politician who is a shareholder in a company producing biometric voter cards.
The indictment came as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday cautioned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, over the deployment of soldiers for elections, saying such is already triggering an uncontrolled crime against humanity in the country.
According to the party, ‘’this usurpation of the responsibility of the police and involvement of soldiers in the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections, led to the gruesome killing of over 30 innocent Nigerians in the Niger Delta as well as arbitrary arrest and detention of opposition figures, resulting in escalated insecurity in region.
‘’The deployment of soldiers for the 2019 general elections, despite the extant ruling of the Supreme Court against such, is part of the grand plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to use the military to suppress opposition, instill fear in the citizenry and forcefully rig the elections.’’
Spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, who made the PDP stance known said, ‘’Buratai’s outburst on Wednesday, that the Army will betough in its unconstitutional involvement in the conduct of elections, particularly in the Niger Delta, the South East and the North Central, appears to be a license to trigger-happy security agents to re-enact or even scale up their February 23 aggression against PDP figures in the March 9 Governorship and state Assembly elections.
‘’Following Buratai’s statement on Wednesday, soldiers that night commenced a targeted manhandling and mass arrest of PDP leaders in Delta, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Bayelsa states.
In Rivers state, PDP leaders are being tracked down, arrested and taken to unknown destinations. The state Commissioner of Education, Dr. Tam Gogo Jaja, who was picked up by soldiers attached to the Director General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation and Minister of
Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, is still being held in an unknown facility.
‘’Compromised security agents have been hounding, arresting and detaining PDP figures in the North Central states of Kogi, Benue, Kwara and Plateau states ahead of the March 9 elections.
APC is pitching the military against Nigerians not minding the collateral damage that usually occurs whenever soldiers clash with civilians.
‘’This is particularly given the fact that Nigerians in all PDP strongholds, spread across our country, are resolute in their resistance of any force that seeks to subvert their will at the March 9 elections. Nigerians should call on Buratai to redirect his officers and men from participating in the March 9 election so as to avert any breakdown of law and order in any part of our country before, during and after the March 9 elections.’’
In the mean time, Menas says having won 56% of the popular vote in the presidential election and even higher margins of victory in the National Assembly poll, President Buhari and the APC will have no excuse for failure to deliver on their promises of economic and security reform in the second term.
‘’Although the chances of a successful legal challenge to Buhari’s 4-million-vote victory are slim to none, the elections cast light on serious problems in the political system. Most glaring is the minimal participation of women and young Nigerians (under 35) in general.
‘’Compared to countries such as South Africa and Rwanda, Nigeria is falling far behind on gender-equality indices, despite an impressive succession of high-level women appointees in government over the past decade.
‘’Nigeria now has the lowest percentage of women parliamentarians anywhere in Africa – a terrible indictment given the key role that women play in the Nigerian economy.
‘’However hard the APC will spin it, there was no national vote of confidence in Buhari the man. Voter turnout slumped to 36%, almost 10 percentage points lower than in the landmark election of 2015.
‘’Buhari held the North but comprehensively lost in the South; in some states, he failed to scrape 25% of the vote. In the Lagos bailiwick of Bola Tinubu, Buhari’s fixer-in-chief, the turnout was under 20%.
‘’Some say that shows the political sophistication of the 20 million denizens of the commercial capital, who found little to recommend either Buhari or his challenger, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP’’, Menas said, insisting that the ruling party used unwholesome schemes against their main challengers.