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Thursday, July 18, 2024

The APC’s Culture Of Violence, By Femi Fani-Kayode

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Once again supporters of the APC, whilst chanting ”sai Buhari” and carrying brooms, have stoned our candidate President Goodluck Jonathan whilst he was on his way to a rally in the north. It happened in Yola, Adamawa State. This is the third time that this has happened in the last few days. The first time it happened in Katsina State, and then in Bauchi State.

In the case of Bauchi State the violence resulted in the brutalisation, wounding and hospitalisation of no less than six of President Jonathan’s security operatives. In Yola, just as it was in Katsina and Bauchi, the whole thing was well-orchestrated and well-funded by the APC and there is an obvious conspiracy to hurt and intimidate the President and his supporters and prevent them from campaigning in the north. This is despite the fact that Jonathan is very popular in many parts of the north and he has millions of followers there.

We wish to assure the APC that this barbaric and uncivilised behaviour will not deter Mr. President from campaigning in every nook and cranny of this country because his supporters, in both the north and the south, expect no less from him. The question that Nigerians must ask is this: will Buhari not call his supporters to order and stop this violence unless and until someone is killed? Is that what he and his APC want? Do they want the President and those that go on campaign with him dead?

Why do they delight in violence and intimidation? Are they scared of a free and fair election? Can they not handle the prospect of defeat? Has it finally dawned on them that they are going to lose the election woefully and consequently they wish to avoid that by creating a crisis in the country? We have warned them over and over again about the consequences of their reckless and dangerous behavior, their fondness of physically attacking the President and his campaign team and their irresponsible and insatiable appetite for aggression but General Buhari and the APC have refused to call their supporters to order.

Instead they have continued to relish and delight in their habitual violence and in the most heinous and hideous forms of unprovoked attacks. Worse still they have consistently encouraged such behaviour in others. It is no wonder that Buhari was once nominated by the terrorist organisation Boko Haram as their negotiator and spokesman when the idea of dialogue with the Federal Government was first mooted in 2014. Equally relevant is the fact that the official spokesman of the APC, Lai Mohammed, objected to the proscription of Boko Haram and described it as being ”unconstitutional and unjust” a few months ago. This was after the terrorists had slaughtered over 20,000 innocent and defenceless Nigerians. Such is the love that the APC have for violence and those that revel in it.

Sadly, it does not stop there. Worthy of note is the fact that when Buhari’s supporters butchered a number of people, including some youth corpers, after he lost the election in 2011 he refused to apologise to the families of those that were so brutally and callously murdered and he expressed absolutely no remorse. This was despite the fact that the killings were done in his name and despite the fact that the Nigerian people and indeed the international community expressed their outrage about those killings and the attendant acts of violence, arson, rioting and vandalisation that went with them.

One wonders if the same uncharitable and insensitive 2011 spirit still resides in Buhari? Is there any indication that he has changed? Is he preparing for a repeat performance of what his supporters did after losing the election four years? Does he still hold to his ”baboon and dog will both be soaked in blood” philosophy if he loses the February election? Are his supporters and allies still threatening to ”make the country ungovernable” after he loses the election? We sincerely hope not because this time around he and his supporters may not get away with it so lightly.

We wish to take this opportunity to serve them notice of a final warning: If they do not desist from these unprovoked attacks and if anything untoward should happen to President Goodluck Jonathan whilst he is on campaign or even after the election the consequences will be grave and worse than they can possibly imagine. Buhari was not attacked by supporters of the PDP when he campaigned anywhere in the south so why should President Jonathan be attacked by supporters of the APC when he campaigns in the north? Enough is enough. The madness has to stop.

The violent behaviour of the APC is utterly reprehensible and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Under no circumstances should violence be condoned or encouraged by them or anyone else because this is simply an election and not a war. The truth is that the APC have become utterly desperate because they can see defeat staring them in the face. They have found it difficult to come to terms with the fact their candidate is a man with questionable credentials who has been rejected by the Nigerian people and who does not have the strength, energy, fortitude or vision to govern Nigeria.
They also find it difficult to accept the fact that he is a perjurer who falsely swore to an affidavit and lied under oath that he had a secondary school certificate and that that certificate was with the army. This obnoxious and odious mendacity goes to the very heart of the issue of character and integrity and it is indicative of the fact that not only is Buhari unfit to rule Nigeria but also that his party is a haven of questionable individuals. If this were not the case why would Asiwaju Bola Tinubu boldly assert that ”certificate or no certificate” the Nigerian people must vote for Buhari. Could there be a more graphic example of impunity, disdain for the rule of law and moral laxity than this?

Our position is that Buhari is not qualified under the law to run for the Presidency because he has not been able to produce or display his secondary school certificate as required by law and this is the basic requirement for anyone that wishes to aspire to that exalted office. We also believe that he was not even qualified to have gone to the Officers Training College of the Nigerian Armed Forces in 1968 because he never had the prerequisite qualifications to be admitted. At best he ought to have remained a non-commissioned officer and not a commissioned officer of the Nigerian army. We believe that based on that he ought to be stripped of all the entitlements and ranks that he attained within the army over the last 46 years.

The truth is that with Buhari the more you look the less you see. His story and whole history is shrouded with double-speak and double-standards and we shall continue to alert the Nigerian people about the dangers of electing such a questionable character as their President and putting him in power. In a futile attempt to cover his shame the latest development is that some desperate individuals have now fraudulently procured a fake and forged result sheet which is meant to fool Nigerians into thinking that Buhari actually passed his exams.

Yet the Nigerian people, as wise and discerning as ever, cannot be fooled. They know that if they were to put such questionable people in power it would result in utter disaster. Buhari’s quest for power and his mantra of change is a mere illusion. He will fail simply because our people wish to move our country forward and they do not want a return to the ugly past.

By their consistent and continued acts of violence General Buhari and his APC have not only violated the historic Kofi Annan-led Abuja Peace Accord but they have also effectively raped it. Despite their desperate attempts to silence and intimidate us we shall continue to raise cogent issues about their fitness to lead our nation, their modus operandi, their policies and their conduct and we shall continue to ask the relevant questions.

The game is on.

Femi-Fani Kayode is Director of Media and Publicity of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign organisation, a lawyer, a Nigerian politician, an evangelical christian, an essayist, a poet and he was the Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006. He was the minister of culture and tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from June 22nd to Nov 7th 2006 and as the minister of Aviation from Nov 7th 2006 to May 29th 2007.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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