Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, raised the alarm over an alleged plot to arrest some of his key associates in the run-up to the election.
Atiku accused an unnamed governor from North-West and a prominent minister in the current administration of working in cahoots with All Progressives Congress, APC, to achieve the plot. However, Muhammadu Buhari Campaign immediately dismissed the assertion and warned that opposition was not a licence to commit offence. Spokesman of the Buhari Campaign, Mr. Festus Keyamo, said: “If they have done nothing, they have nothing to fear, but the fact that you are in the opposition is not a licence for you to commit illegality.
If they do anything illegal in the days to the election, they will be arrested.” But in a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday, by Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, the PDP presidential candidate said his close political associates were being targeted for arrest by APC-led Federal Government, which is hell bent on derailing the electoral process. He said: ‘’The architects of this plot believe that unless the APC destabilises the main opposition party and gets rid of the key associates of the PDP presidential candidate, President Buhari’s plan to clinch a second term in office will be in jeopardy, especially as they are afraid, for obvious reasons that the president has become unpopular and won’t be re-elected at the poll.
‘’The first step in this desperate plot is to arrest some of our associates using the EFCC with others soon to follow, based on a list that has been drawn up by the cabal,” the statement said. Atiku said the linchpin of the plot was a governor of an APC controlled state in the North West working in tandem with a prominent minister in President Buhari’s cabinet and the leadership of the ruling party. ‘’The cooked intelligence report concluded that all means must be used to stop Atiku.
Reading between lines, the measures being advocated in the report could only be to frame his associates for money laundering, creation of chaos and anarchy to pave the way for the derailing of the electoral process, which will ultimately lead to the emergence of an interim national government,’’ he said. According to the statement, the PDP presidential candidate is not surprised that the President and his handlers have gone into panic mode since the results of polls conducted by Williams and Associates indicated that Atiku would win next week’s presidential election. Williams and Associates was the same polling firm that predicted Buhari would beat Goodluck by 54% to 46% in 2015 (result was 54% to 45%).
For next week’s election, Williams and Associates had said that majority of voters in the Buhari’s own geopolitical zone of the north-west believe Atiku will be the next president, as do the voters in every other single geopolitical region, every age group, every religion and in urban and rural areas. Even the majority of APC voters by 56% to 38% think Atiku will win. Atiku said having experienced four tortuous years of the B team, the minds of Nigerians were now made up: they want the A Team. While urging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the plotters to desist from any act that will further threaten the tenuous peace and security in the country, Atiku reminded them to learn from history.
‘’We also warn the security and anti-graft agencies to be independent and not to allow themselves to be used for political gains. ‘’They should put national interest above partisan interest, and remember that President Muhammadu Buhari and his APC gang are not synonymous with the Nigerian nation. ‘’Buhari is just a bull in china shop that will soon be ejected by the peoples’ votes on February 16,’’ Atiku said.