The Federal Government on Monday accused the opposition of mounting an international blackmail against it over the forthcoming general elections.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, said that rather than for the opposition to be selling their programs to the electorate through campaigns as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was doing across the country, it was resorting to campaigns to discredit the elections even before they are held.
The Minister stressed that based on credible intelligence, the government can reveal that the opposition is moving a step further by planning to discredit the forthcoming election before, during and after the polls. Specifically, he said the opposition plans sending a delegation to some Western capitals, including London, Brussels and Washington, DC, to push for a rejection of the results if the President wins re-election.
The Minister said government has the implicit confidence that the international community was capably of seeing through the alleged smokescreen of the opposition, adding however that it was necessary to alert Nigerians and the world of the plots to scuttle and discredit the polls.
He added that the opposition have started flying the rigging kite domestically, engaging in incendiary rhetoric and in making outlandish claims using several fronts, including the nebulous Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) which he called a reincarnated Association for Better Nigeria (ABN).
Alhaji Mohammed said they have targeted, for attack, the two key institutions that are most critical to the success of the election: the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Police using every malleable and malicious personality to make wild allegations against INEC.
“Their strategy is simple: Discredit the election even before it is held, and continue during and after the polls with a view to convincing the West – which they believe they have won to their side using lobbyist-propelled propaganda – that the election is not credible,” he said.
Mohammed said the opposition is going to this length because they know, and are convinced, that they cannot win a free, fair, credible and peaceful polls as President Buhari continues to receive warm and genuine reception and adulation from huge crowds everywhere he has gone to campaign while their candidate was been exposed to apathetic and thinning crowds.
“On our part, we as an Administration are undaunted by their antics, even though we believe it is necessary to expose their evil plans – as we have been doing – to the world. President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly stated his commitment to ensuring a free, fair and violence-free election. He has no doubt – based on testimonies of change from Nigerians – that the achievements of his Administration, in the three cardinal areas of fighting corruption, revamping the economy and fighting insecurity, will speak for him at the polls. He did not rig his way into office and has no need to rig now that he is in office,” Mohammed said.
He said the Buhari Administration is committed to a free, fair, credible and peaceful polls. He added that the government is glad that local and international observers are already fully mobilised to monitor the election.
Mohammed called on all Nigerians to be vigilant as the final countdown to the election. Begins.
“Eternal vigilance, as the saying goes, is the price of liberty. We must not allow desperate politicians to crash our democracy on the altar of their personal – and sometimes inordinate – ambition!” he said.