CUPP raises alarm over alleged plot to derail 2019 polls

The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), an umbrella body of over 45 opposition parties, disclosed on Wednesday that it had uncovered a plot by President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to subvert the 2019 polls.

This emerged when the 1st National Spokesman of CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, addressed journalists in Abuja at a meeting attended by almost all the member political parties.

“We have called all of you here on this historic day to raise alarm on critical developments that threaten the 2019 general elections being orchestrated by the presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

“We have credible intelligence that the design of the grand plot to derail the 2019 general elections has been completed and the implementation has accordingly commenced.

“It is more worrisome that the government towing this path of dishonour is a government that won an open election where the people were allowed to cast their votes freely and their votes were allowed to count.

“We are also sad to say this to you, that there is intelligence that the president has agreed with his kitchen cabinet not to sign the amendment into law.

“We have been informed that after several undue delays, the president is set to communicate the National Assembly anytime from today that he would not be able to sign the amendment due to the existence of Article 2 of the ECOWAS Protocol on democracy and good governance which prohibits countries from making Electoral Act amendments less than six months to elections unless there is consent of the political parties.”

Explaining how APC plot to militarize elections and destabilize at least nine target states, Ugochinyere fingered Rotimi Amaechi, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu, Adams Oshiomhole, Senator Hope Uzodimma, Chief Chris Ngige, and others as among those they would use to destabilise these states.

He said, “The presidency believing that it will cross this stage of the plot not to sign the Electoral Amendment and reintroduce the use of incident forms, has also set in motion plots to fine tune the next stage which would be to militarize the elections and destabilize it in at least nine target states including Rivers, plot headed by Rotimi Amaechi; Delta State, plot headed by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.

“Akwa Ibom: plot headed by Senator Godswill Akpabio; Abia State: plot headed by Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu; Edo State: plot headed by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; Imo State: plot headed by Senator Hope Uzodinma; Anambra State: plot headed by Chief Chris Ngige; Kwara State: plot headed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Plateau State: plot headed by Governor Simon Lalong, and Benue State: plot headed by Senator George Akume.

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“The plot in Rivers State, as had earlier been outlined by Gov. Nyesom Wike, will include planting of guns in certain strategic places which will warrant the compromised SARS Commander, Mr. Akin Fakorede, to move in and arrest leaders of the PDP in Rivers State.

“This militarization will lead to cancelling presidential and governorship elections in the above mentioned states and more where the president knows he will lose woefully and rerun elections conducted so that thugs and state apparatus will be deployed massively to intimidate voters and eventually rig the president into office.

“This dastardly plot includes the fact that there will be little or no policing of the North West geopolitical zone where the president believes is his stronghold so as to enable his thugs have a field day and record bloated figures for him as usual without the use of card reader.”

Announcing their decision to adopt Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as consensus candidate after a closed door meeting, the CUPP explained the criteria used to adopt the PDP standard-bearer.

The criteria, according to CUPP, for picking Atiku as the consensus candidate included national acceptability, financial capacity, spread of his political party, leadership capacity, international acceptability, experience, capacity to rebuild the economy, secure the country and unite all Nigerians, among other factors.

The coalition would be meeting with Atiku before Friday for commencement of the coalition campaign.

Advising President Buhari to sign the 2018 Amended Electoral Bill into law, the CUPP spokesman fingered key leaders of APC, like Abubakar Malami, Rotimi Amaechi, Asiwaju Tinubu, Gov. Yahaya Bello, Ahmed Lawan, Adams Oshiomhole, Gov. Ahmed El-Rufai, Gov. Umar Ganduje, and a head of a security agency as those informing the president that the amendment should not be signed.

He noted that in less than 72 hours, the 30 days’ time limit allowed by law for the president to assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill would elapse.

He said: “It is now about 20 days since the National Assembly forwarded to the president and for the fourth time necessary amendments to our Electoral Act. The president has not signed the amendment.

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“Today, we are 72 days away from the opening of the ballot for the 2019 general elections and in less than 72 hours, the 30 days’ time limit allowed by law for the president to assent to the Bill will elapse.

“The amendment, if signed into law, makes the use of the card reader statutory and the only instrument of accreditation thereby permanently doing away with the incident form. The amendment takes care of the issue of exclusion of political parties from elections.

“The amendment also makes the backend result of the card reader an evidential tool that can be called upon for nullifying elections where certain levels of infractions currently allowed in our elections are perpetrated.

“If the amendment is not signed into law, there is fear by Nigerians that the elections will end up the most violent elections in our recent history as victory will be for only those who shoot themselves through the ballot as the hands of the Supreme Court will be tied from nullifying the elections by the non-statutory backing of the card reader as has been held in some 2015 election cases.

“Nigerians are hereby reminded that out of the 7.1 million votes scored by President Buhari in the North-West in 2015, over 5.6 million of the votes, in the so called famed stronghold of the president, were through incident forms and without the use of the card reader for accreditation. Kano, 1.35 million; Katsina, 1.05 million; Kaduna, 800, 112; Jigawa, 744, 457; Sokoto, 588, 730; Zamfara, 578, 730, and Kebbi, 496, 565.

“It shows that about a third of the about 15 million votes with which President Buhari won the presidency were votes that did not go through the card reader from the North-West.

“The use of incident forms allowed for unqualified, unregistered and illegal immigrants to participate in the elections.

“Nigerians can now see the real reason why the president does not want to sign the amendment.

“The least President Buhari can do after an awful performance in almost four years is to leave Nigerians with an enabling legal framework to freely and credibly conduct elections going forward.”

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