The Peoples Democratic Party has berated the breach of the peace accord signed by political parties and their presidential candidates in the country, arranged by the National Peace Commission.
The PDP made its position known by the party’s national secretary, Samuel Anyanwu, at a meeting with a delegation of the British High Commission in Nigeria led by Mrs Catriona Lang, on Wednesday held at the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
Anyanwu stated, “Remember when the National Peace Commission asked our people to come and sign that we are going to do our campaign on issue-based my party was the first, and we signed that documents, and we have maintained all the issues raised by the National Peace Commission.
“Just some few weeks back, our presidential campaign team was attacked in Borno. Over 70 of our members were attacked, cars destroyed, and when we made our investigations, it was the APC behind it, because some of the people we saw were carrying APC flags and were shooting openly to our cars, the pictures are there.
“I think that is one of the issues that we are going to face in this election. You ware aware that it was the same thing we faced in Kaduna we were attacked openly they don’t want to allow the party to campaign. But at the end of the day because Nigerians love the party we were able to deliver the message to Nigerians.
“We have this issue in some of the states controlled by the APC where we put the billboard of our party and candidates they go about destroying them. Some of the governors they put big amount to pay before you can erect a billboard as a way to discourage the party. That is not democracy. You are aware that our students for eight months were out of school, it is payback time for them, and that is why you see massive registration.”
The national secretary also charged the Independent National Electoral Commission to maintain the use of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, for the conduct of the 2023 general elections as promised to Nigerians.
He stated, “We believe that with the BVAS which INEC is able to introduce it is not going to be business as usual and that is why we keep praying for INEC to maintain what they have promised to Nigerians and when that is done we will find out that our party will be in top gear. The other party is just using abusive statements which are not part of what we signed; our campaign should be issue-based.
“We are happy that people are always watching what is happening here. You remember it is from the same Kaduna State a threat was issued to foreign observers who were coming to observe elections that one of the APC governors said that when these people come they will go back in body bags. That is one of the hate speeches we don’t want. I believe constant monitoring of the election here will be welcomed.”
Earlier the British High Commissioner, Mrs Lang, noted that Nigeria’s 2023 election is very important to Africa and parts of the world, adding that the spotlight would be on Nigeria and the UK will be watching all the political parties closely.
“The important thing is to get the votes out, and whatever political party one belongs to, the election will be credible. It was low last time around 35 per cent. There is also the issue of registration of young voters, that is a real positive and we hope that they would turn out to vote on the day of election, because it will make the election much more credible.”
She added, “We engage in so many ways, we have spoken with INEC and civil societies, we don’t support any political party, it is for the people of Nigeria to decide who will lead them at the federal level and state levels, in that spirit we are meeting all the main political parties. I met with the chairman in February, this is our second meeting and I will be meeting all the other chairs of the main political parties.
“On the issue of electoral violence, we will also be watching closely any individual who acts violently or insights people through the social media. We do have the possibility of using our visas as sanction by removing Peoples rights to visit the UK.
“The few things that are on my mind, just to make sure that the election goes very well, number one is security, and we have been really concerned about the recent events, 52 election related violence in 22 states including an attack on the PDP convoy in Maiduguri, that is a real concern, and we want to exchange our thoughts on what you can do as a political party to ensure that the election are as peaceful as possible.
“When people feel intimidated, they can’t get out to vote, the election itself will not be credible that is why the violence is of great concern.”