The presidency says it will use security agencies in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Edo State.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, stated this while reacting to a viral video clip showing Adams Oshiomhole, erstwhile national chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Messrs Oshiomhole and Gambari in the eight seconds video were captured discussing about arresting unnamed persons as the September 19 exercise draws near. Critics are of the opinion that opposition politicians may be the target if federal might – an unethical practice of rigging elections including using security agencies – is used.
Although not quite audible, the former APC helmsman was heard saying, “arrest…deal with and the whole…will change.” In response, the president’s chief of staff said, “we will go beyond…” before the clip abruptly ended.
In his reaction, Mr Shehu described the video as an ingenious patchwork of mischief, extracted from an innocent conversation focused on the emerging incidents of violence in the run up to the election.
He said security agencies will be judiciously deployed to forestall breakdown of law and order because the political parties participating in the exercise foment trouble then accuse their rivals of instigating violence.
“It is very important to strongly dispel misguided messaging amongst commentators, rights activists, advocates and journalists who have been reacting to a trending short video clip, alleging that the Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and Chief Adams Oshiomhole, the former All Progressives Congress, APC chairman had hatched a plan to arrest opposition individuals ahead of the September, election in Edo State,” Premium Times quoted the presidential spokesman as saying in reaction.
“It is equally a fact that various political parties campaigning in Edo have levelled accusations of violence against one another. In such a heightened state of uncertainty, responsible leadership, must ensure that elections are conducted in a peaceful manner and if warranted, judicious use of law enforcement to protect lives and properties of citizens is mobilised thus preventing criminal elements from subverting the democratic process.
“President Muhammadu Buhari does not support violence of any sort and its propagators will be brought to justice.
“Equally important, is that the persons in the video, Professor Gambari and Comrade Oshiomhole have a history and track record of working to protect the rights of Nigerians and humanity of all walks of life, especially the poor and marginalized; and as such will not be found encouraging any conduct that runs counter to these values,” Shehu added.