Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Former governor and self-styled chief servant of Niger State, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu, has said that if the 2019 presidential election is allowed to be free and fair, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, will defeat the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking with journalists in Kaduna at the weekend, Aliyu Babangida said not only will the PDP defeat Buhari at the national level, it will also cruise to victory in his home state, Niger.
He warned that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as security agencies must all remain neutral in order to guarantee free and fair elections.
He said not minding what has been happening in the polity especially the intimidation of members of the opposition party, “what will be, will be.
“Believe me, not only in my state, I believe that if the elections are free and fair, if there is no rigging; if the security agencies are not used against our party, we will make it. We will win,” he said.
Speaking on the refusal of President Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Amendment Act, Aliyu said although the National Assembly can over ride the president’s veto, if such action is capable of creating problems in the polity, then “we can wait.
“If the National Assembly feels very strongly as Nigerians feel, they should be able to over ride the veto. But if it will create problems at the moment, we can wait. I understand that some of the conditions the president gave were that the electoral act should start with the next election and not this particular one. But I think that we need, under his watch, to make sure that we don’t have any problem with the 2019 election.
“In 2015, we understand what happened and everybody rallied round, even though the difference in the votes was not much, given the population of voters in the country.
“But then, I believe that when we used the card readers, it was not part of our law. Why not make it now properly part of the law?
“Because if it is used and it is not part of the law, you have no basis to question whatever the outcome of the use of the card reader. There are transmission of votes and the counted votes. The manual transmission of the votes from the card readers have been creating problems all along. Why don’t we go ahead and correct it?
“But if the Electoral Act is not signed by the president and not over ridden by the National Assembly, then it means we will use the old law and we will have no basis of asking anybody whether the card reader has been used or not; you will have no basis to ask about some of the provisions that are not there in the old law.
“We appeal to the president either to reconsider his position or appeal to the National Assembly to look at it again.
“This to me is not a partisan issue. This is part of our democratic development that we must encourage. Nigerians must all rally round as we move along in entrenching democracy.”