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Kaduna APC cries over orders to intimidate voters

By By Garba Ahmed, Kaduna on 20/03/2015

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The All Progressive Congress (APC), Kaduna State Campaign Council on Thursday alleged that soldiers have received orders to engage in massive and sustained intimidation of voters in the state.

The Director-General, governorship campaign organization, Ben Kure in a Statement in Kaduna, lamented that the objective is to scare people sufficiently to deter them from voting, or, if they do, from defending their votes.

"The PDP hopes thereby to reduce turnout, suppress the votes that would have been cast against it and thereby secure an illegitimate result. There seems to be no limit to the PDP’s desperation.

"In executing this illegal and dangerous order, the soldiers have been asked to concentrate their harassment, threats and fear-mongering in Zaria and Kaduna,” the DG said.

"These are the two largest cities in the state and known strongholds of the APC. In both cities, the PDP has long tied its fortunes to the viciousness of its thugs, who are maiming and killing people, all in a vain bid to avert its imminent defeat at the coming elections," he said.

The statement further read: “APC firmly condemns this patently illegal order. It aims to transform soldiers from disciplined professionals into mere thugs for the PDP.

"This should be rejected by any self-respecting soldier as an unworthy diminution of their standing. It is also an affront to good conscience and professional standards. It seeks to traduce the military as an institution by forcing soldiers to become perpetrators and accomplices to an unprecedented electoral heist.

"Our country’s courts have clearly affirmed that the military have no role in elections. As an institution, the military is vested with the noble duty of protecting the country and its people. What the PDP is doing is an attempt to denigrate the military by reducing it into an armed gang working to shield a thieving and incompetent government from the just verdict of the people.

"In Zaria, the army depot commander has been variously implementing the voter-suppression agenda of the PDP. He has not only ordered his soldiers to begin the psychological operations against the people, he is spearheading it himself.

"He has invented his own version of the electoral law, telling stakeholders that no one would be allowed to remain in the vicinity of the polling stations after voting. The law permits voters to stay in the precincts of polling units so they can observe the vote and witness the counting of votes. This is intended to boost the integrity and transparency of the electoral process, and any fair-minded person can appreciate this.

“It should be noted that this Zaria military commander is the same officer who supervised the murder of 34 unarmed Shiite protesters in Zaria last year. Having been shielded from any accountability for these unlawful killings, he now wants to strangulate democracy.

"Impunity only breeds more impunity, as well as an irresponsible disdain for the nation-wrecking, life-destroying consequences of illegal conduct by government and its agencies. Any soldier who has lost any sense of professional dignity or fulfillment should honorably withdraw from service. True soldiers don’t moonlight as thugs!

"Having worked hard to mobilise the people to our platform of change, the APC Kaduna State Campaign Council wishes to make it clear that we will resist intimidation from any quarter. Our party has consistently asked its supporters to resist provocation, to refrain from violence and to be vigilant in reporting every act of violence or harassment.

"We are by this means reporting the military to the wider public and the international community. We are also clearly warning the military that it must not allow itself to be suborned into an unnecessary conflict with citizens. The Army Depot Commander in Zaria, a known associate of the president’s wife, is advised not to confuse the gentle hospitality of our people with weakness or think he can treat Zaria citizens like a conquered people.

"Our people only wish to exercise their democratic and human right to a free choice at the ballot. Let there be no doubt that this democratic right will be vigorously defended, protected and upheld. Free and fair elections are a prerequisite for peace and stability. We are a free people and we will defend the constitution, and the rights that are therein enshrined.

"No soldier or policeman or security official should have any illusions that they will be allowed to get away with illegal arrests, threats or violence to any person. Our people have woken up, and no thug, whether uniformed or freelance, will force them into another long night of hardship.

"Sixteen years ago, the military were sent back to the barracks in disgrace, following the irresponsible and disastrous rule of some thieving and reckless generals. Enough lessons should have been learnt from that episode. The APC asks all officers and soldiers to abide by their oath to defend the country, an oath that obliges them to impartiality and non-involvement in politics. Let the free will of the people express itself in a free, fair and credible electoral process.

“Our people only wish to exercise their democratic and human right to a free choice at the ballot. Let there be no doubt that this democratic right will be vigorously defended, protected and upheld. We are a free people and we will defend the constitution, and the rights that are therein enshrined.”

•Photo shows APC

Source News Express

Posted 20/03/2015 04:54:55 AM





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