Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Former Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Femi Bamisile, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s instruction to the security agencies to deal “ruthlessly” with ballot snatchers during elections was the most patriotic comment ever made by a sitting president.
Bamisile said the order indicated that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal government and the leadership of the ruling party under Buhari had no plan to rig the February 23 rescheduled presidential and National Assembly polls.
The APC chieftain, who is a House of Representatives candidate in Ekiti South federal constituency II, predicted that Buhari and other candidates of the party would win in Ekiti by 80 percent in the Saturday’s elections.
President Buhari had on Monday revealed during an APC stakeholders’ meeting held at the party’s secretariat in Abuja that he had given strict order to security agencies to “deal ruthlessly with those who may want to snatch ballots and ridicule the electoral system on Saturday.”
However, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, described the presidential directive as a call to illegality and leeway to jungle justice in the politics of the nation.
But Bamisile, who defended President Buhari in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday while interacting with journalists, said: “The president did n’t give a shooting order the way former President Olusegun Obasanjo gave a shoot-at-sight order against OPC when he was president.
“President Buhari only said those who snatch ballots will have themselves to blame. So, I stand 100 percent behind him on this order. We are not in the 19th century when things were absurd. It is a barbaric act for anyone to snatch ballot boxes.
“If anyone loses his life while attempting to snatch ballot boxes, he should have himself to blame. Nigerians should see elections as a process that will come and go and the nation will remain. Why is the PDP afraid? If you are not a thief and they say if you steal you go to jail, why are you bothered if you are not a thief?”
He promised that if elected, he would join the vanguard of those federal legislators that will make laws for the good governance of the nation Bamisile said his utmost priority for the masses in his constituents would be bursary and scholarship awards to students, provision of facilities like ICT library to aid learning and research and provision of employment for youths and empowerment for women groups to alleviate poverty in the state.
On the call by the APC National Chairman for the removal of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu over election postponement and the allegation that some Resident Electoral Commissioners had been bribed by PDP, Bamisile said the commission’s head might not be the problem but those around him.
“There are so many bad eggs in INEC but the way I see Prof Yakubu, he isn’t a bad person. But as a leader, he must watch those around him who could smear his name by their conducts.
“But to make the job easier for INEC, politicians need to be more civil, patriotic and realise that the game is temporary; it doesn’t last forever. I appeal to Nigerians that we should have an eagle eye on what is happening in Abuja and ensure that the coming polls are peaceful.”
Bamisile said that President Buhari enjoys cult-like followers in the North that will make him win the next election, in spite of the noise being made by the opposition that the PDP had taken over the North.
“Forget about all the talks that his fame has waned, the President has a natural vote in the North. We will win this poll with not less than 4.7 million votes. When he contested on the platforms of ANPP and CPC, the least he ever got then was 12m votes. Now that he has served and performed well, it will be more,” he said.