The former military head of state and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) presidential flagbearer, Muhammadu Buhari, is undermining the nation's democracy by allegedly inciting his supporters to violence, the presidential campaign council of the People's Democratic Party has alleged. The council has called for the disqualification of Mr. Buhari from the presidential poll. It also asked security agencies in the country to check the excesses of Mr. Buhari and his supporters who it accused of adopting violence as a campaign tool.
Mike Omeri, the director of research and strategy of the PCC, said in Abuja on Sunday that having become aware that they did not possess the needed democratic credentials to win the forthcoming elections, the CPC candidate and his supporters had suddenly resorted to violence. He said that the CPC presidential campaign train had unleashed violence on PDP supporters in Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Rivers and Gombe states, describing the development as a ploy capable of truncating the democratic project Nigerians had laboured to build over the years. Mr. Omeri specifically alerted security agencies to what he said was a threat to his life by those he believed were members of the CPC, saying in the last five days, he had been inundated with strange phone calls and text messages warning him not to speak or comment on anything involving General Buhari.
"I think this is not how democracy should be practiced," Mr. Omeri said. "Violence or threat is not part of our democracy. I think those who have no democratic credentials should have no business in this game. By now, Nigerians should know those who are the real enemies of democracy and the people. This is not the era of brute force.
Nigerians must have a choice and right to decide. This resort to violence and intimidation cannot win votes for them."
Man of peace
But responding to the allegation, the spokesperson of the CPC, Rotimi Fashakin, debunked Mr. Omeri's claim, saying that the party standardbearer was a man of peace.
"The easiest way to avoid a defeat is to get Buhari disqualified," he said. "Buhari cannot be involved in violence because he is a man of peace and he is civil. While he was head of state, no assassination that has the trappings of the state could be traced to him. But under the PDP, what did we see and what have we seen?
"What Buhari said, that those who rig should be lynched is not different from what Wole Soyinka said before. If people are denied the right to choose their leaders, it is violence and you can meet violence with violence. If Buhari were violent, he wouldn't have gone to court twice when he was rigged out in 2003 and 2007."