The African Action Congress (AAC) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of discouraging Nigerians from voting in the general election with his “reckless death threat”.
In a statement on Tuesday, Rachel Onamusi-Kpiasi, director of media and communications of the campaign organisation of Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the party, said Nigerians deserve the right to exercise their civic responsibilities without fear or favour.
The party was reacting to a statement made by Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in which he warned that those who snatch ballot boxes would do so at the expense of their lives.
Onamusi-Kpiasi described Buhari’s statement as reckless and a disdain for the rule of law, asking the president to tender an apology to Nigerians.
“While the African Action Congress has always campaigned against electoral malpractices, violence and any unlawful act of political activities, we wish to categorically condemn, disclaim and protest Mr. Buhari’s reckless utterances and threat of violence against the Nigerian people,” she said.
“We hasten to point out that Mr. Buhari’s latest vituperative declaration is just one of the many acts of unmask-able disdain for the Rule of Law, Due Process, and common courtesy and respect for Nigerians.
“Nigerians deserve a say in the election of their leaders. Nigerians deserve the right to be able to exercise their civic responsibilities without fear or favour. Mr. Buhari’s threats appear to us to be a calculated attempt by him and his enablers to scare the average Nigerians away from the polling booths, dispirit them and discourage them from voting him and his band of inept maladministrators out of power, come February 23rd, 2019.
“After impelling a last-minute postponement of the elections in a move calculated to discourage and prevent millions of Nigerians from voting, Mr. Buhari and his handlers are now embarking on preventing Nigerians from peacefully exercising their rights to vote by scare mongering. The threat of violence at the polls depresses voter turn-out.
“That the Outgoing President of Nigeria would so cavalierly threaten to have his military and law enforcement apparatuses mow down Nigerians who have neither been tried nor convicted of any offence subject to the death penalty is so outrageous and unbecoming that the African Action Congress party (AAC) wishes to demand that Mr. Buhari should apologise to the Nigerian people and to the rest of the democratic world for the statement attributed to him. We would like to give Mr. Buhari the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was unaware of the far-reaching implications of his utterances and we strongly believe that a public repudiation of the attributed statement without delay is necessary.
“Mr. Buhari should be reminded that he is not a military dictator but the DEMOCRATIC President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Only despots shoot or threaten to shoot their people. Which title Mr. Buhari with is a question Nigerians are asking after this latest irrational declaration.
“The African Action Congress and its presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore, encourage All Nigerians to ignore Mr. Buhari and the APC’s attempt to scare them into staying at home. Mr. Buhari and his cohorts have seen the handwriting on the wall; they know that they have outlived their usefulness to the Nigerian people and they are very scared and worried. We urge you to please ensure that you go out to the polls en-masse on Saturday, February 23rd to VOTE OUT Mr. Buhari and every one of his cronies.”