The All Progressives Congress, APC, has described as “deceitful, obstructionist and provocative”, the petition written to President Muhammadu Buhari by the 16 PDP federal lawmakers from Rivers over the State’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
The party said those who are blatantly obstructing the course of justice are the same ones now trying to play the victim.
The 16 senators and members of the House of Representatives from Rivers State had on Wednesday petitioned the president, pleading with him to call the Department of State Services and Nigerian Army to order over their alleged interferences in the hearing of cases before the state election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja.
But in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the governing party said despite the order from the Tribunal, the “damnable” duo of Rivers PDP and the INEC have colluded to ensure that the Rivers APC neither gets the certified true copies of requested documents nor inspect the electoral materials used for the governorship polls.
“Because we are a law-abiding party, unlike the anarchists in the PDP and their flagrant INEC collaborators, we reported this to the Tribunal, which then said it was not up to it to enforce the order given earlier. This was why we reported to the security agencies, especially the Police and the Department of State Services (DSS).
“Even though the Police IG intervened to ensure that the order of the tribunal was carried out, the Rivers INEC still refused. This was why the DSS, seeking to prevent a breakdown of law and order that could result from the intransigence of the Rivers INEC, now invited the obstructionists to impress it upon them to carry out the order of the Tribunal.
“Despite these efforts, the order has still not been complied with till today”, it said.
Mr. Mohammed, however, denied that the military was being used to intimidate anyone, saying the party only subpoenaed the soldiers who played a major role in the elections not only in Rivers but in the entire Niger Delta region, in view of the violence unleashed by the PDP on APC supporters before, during and after the elections.
“Nigerians can now see that there is no truth whatsoever in the petition written by the intrusive Rivers PDP Senators and House of Representatives members that the DSS and the military were being used to obstruct justice. What the petitioners are seeking to do is to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians”, the party said.
Mr. Mohammed said it was no secret that the PDP rigged the elections not only in Rivers but also in Akwa Ibom, where the party and the State INEC have also refused to allow the APC to have access to electoral materials, and where indeed vital documents have been destroyed.
“Knowing fully well that they cooked the figures, and that their figures cannot hold up in the face of serious scrutiny, the Rivers PDP has resorted to using all the tricks in the books to delay the proceedings at the Tribunal, hoping that by so doing, the statutory 180 days we have to prove our case will expire.
“It was for the same reason that they (Rivers PDP and their INEC collaborators) tried to goad us to file contempt charges against them for their refusal to obey the Tribunal’s order. They had hoped that by filing such charges, valuable time would have been wasted”, APC said.
The party, therefore, urged the 16 PDP lawmakers to tell their people to stop constituting an obstacle to the course of justice by allowing the Rivers APC access to the election materials, instead of writing frivolous petitions and blaming the victims of their lawlessness.
“The PDP has always been a lawless and anarchic party. This is why they think others are like them. In pursuing our petition at the Tribunal, we do not seek any favour beyond what the law prescribes. But we will not fold our arms and allow anyone to bury us under the ruble of injustice. We will use all constitutional and legal means to ensure that justice prevails”, it warned.