Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, on Monday during a press briefing in Abuja, accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), of lobbying foreign countries to discredit the outcome of the forthcoming February 16 presidential election if President Muhammadu Buhari wins.
Mr. Lai who spoke on behalf of the Federal Government noted that the opposition party was planning on sending a 10-member delegation to some western capitals to sell the idea that Buhari’s government would not hold credible elections.
“If you are talking about opposition, we know of the PDP and the CUPP,” Lai said, when asked to specifically mention the opposition parties behind the alleged plot.
He further urged Nigerians not to allow those he described as desperate politicians to scuttle the nation’s democracy.
“Today, still based on credible intelligence, we can reveal that the opposition members are moving a step further.
“They are working hard to discredit the forthcoming elections before, during and after the polls. Specifically, they are sending a delegation to some Western capitals, including London, Brussels and Washington, DC, to push the concocted line that the Buhari administration has perfected the plan to rig the polls.
“They are therefore pushing for a rejection of the results if the President wins re-election. They are also predicting carnage in the event of the President’s victory.
“Already, they have started flying the rigging kite domestically. They have been engaging in incendiary rhetoric and in making outlandish claims using several fronts, including the nebulous CUPP which, by the way, is nothing more than a reincarnated Association for Better Nigeria.”
Mr. Lai further said that the opposition had also targeted both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force in their actions.
“Their strategy is simple: discredit the election even before it is held, and continue during and after the poll 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.
“The handwriting is on the wall for all discerning people to see. While President Buhari has received warm and genuine reception and adulation from huge crowds everywhere he has gone to campaign , their candidate has been exposed to apathetic and thinning crowds! Their numbers just don’t add up.”
The CUPP however vehemently denied the allegations, saying that contrary to Mr. Lai’s claim, the APC-led government was the one deploying machinery to rig the forthcoming election.
“Who is attempting to buy votes through the fraudulent TraderMoni which has failed? Who is plotting to import voters from neighbouring countries which has been exposed? Who is deploying security agencies particularly the military through the hurriedly put together Operation Python Dance III to intimidate voters?
“All these have failed, hence like they purchased an order with which the Chief Justice of Nigeria was unlawfully forced out of office, they have purchased a Magistrates’ Court order to arrest key opposition leaders including Senator Bukola Saraki, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, Uche Secondus and 16 other leaders of the opposition.
“Let it be known to the presidency that any election result which is not a reflection of the will of the Nigerian people will be rejected and that the real winner of the election will form a government of Nigerians, by Nigerians and for Nigerians.
“The statement is a failed attempt by Alhaji Lai Mohammed and his paymasters to scare the international community away from monitoring the election as the gatekeepers of developing democracies.”
“The claims of Alhaji Lai Mohammed are lies, signs of a guilty conscience and a red herring to deceive the ordinary people and distract the mind of the international community but which will not achieve the set purpose.
“President Buhari is no longer sleeping well. He has been caged by the resolve of the Nigerian people like a rabbit in a hole and the journey to crush him at the ballot box is irreversible.”