*Accuses him of vote buying, refusal to sign Electoral Act
*As CUPP names Atiku consensus candidate
By Ezeocha Nzeh and Myke Uzendu, Abuja
Opening a can of worms against President Muhammadu Buhari, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday claimed that the president was plotting to rig the 2019 general elections.
The umbrella body of over 45 major opposition political parties, also rose from a closed-door meeting at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, on Wednesday, and announced former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar, the presidential flagbearer of the PDP as their consensus candidate.
Insisting that Buhari planned to rig the forthcoming elections, they claimed that President Buhari planned to withdraw assent to the amended Electoral Act.
According to the body, Buhari is insisting on the existence of Article 2 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good-Governance, which prohibits countries from making any amendment to its electoral laws less than six months to elections, unless there is consent of all the political parties.
The coalition led by the former governor of Osun State, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, chieftain of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), had earlier signed a pact which enabled the coalition endorse a common presidential candidate in order to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
At a media briefing, Oyinlola accompanied by representatives of other political parties, members of the CUPP, said they endorsed Atiku because “he stands tall, and has the capacity to defeat the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who has abysmally failed in turning around the fortunes of the country”.
He explained that CUPP adopted factors such as “national acceptability, financial capacity, spread of his political party, leadership capacity, international acceptability, experience, capacity to rebuild the economy, secure the country and unite all Nigerians”, before they endorsed him.
He said CUPP will be formally meet Atiku before Friday for a formal commencement of campaigns by the coalition in line with their pact.
Also, the 1st Publicity Secretary of CUPP, Ikenga Ugochinyere Imo, accused Buhari of doing everything possible to ensure the electoral amendment bill which had abolished the use of Incident Forms from being signed into law to render the Card Reader irrelevant in the transmission of election results in preference to manual transmission of election results.
Imo further alleged that APC and Buhari had perfected plans to frustrate the National Assembly in getting the newly-passed electoral act become law.
Imo said, “We have credible intelligence that the design of the grand plot to derail the 2019 general elections has been completed and the implementation have commenced.
“It is more worrisome that the government towing this path of dishonor is a government that won an open election where the people were allowed to cast their votes freely and their votes were allowed to count.
“We have been informed that after several undue delays, the President is set to communicate the National Assembly anytime from today, that he would not be able to sign the amendment into law”.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus has said there will be no escape route for election riggers in 2019, even as he warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to conduct free and fair election and avert crisis.
Speaking at the Ilorin Metropolitan Mini-stadium on Wednesday at a rally to kick-off the PDP North-Central Presidential rally, Prince Secondus said that his party would not accept the outcome of a rigged election.
The PDP National Chairman told the jubilant crowd from the six states of Kwara, Niger, Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi and Plateau that the party chose a rescuer in the person of Atiku and his vice, Peter Obi, to fly their flag at the presidential election.
He stated that “Atiku Abubakar is a man set out by providence to rescue this country from the APC-mess and we must give him our votes.
“He is the man destined to make Nigeria work again and he would end hunger and unite Nigerians once again”.
He warned the Police and other security agencies who might want to connive with INEC and APC to thwart the will of the people, that they would be stoutly resisted.
Also, the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, told the rally that Atiku is the only person with the requisite knowledge to resolve the challenges facing the country.
Speaking, the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) Spokesperson, Kola Ologondiyan, noted that the spontaneous jubilation and the overflowing crowd of supporters that received Atiku at the rally confirmed his acceptance across board as the next president.
On his part, Atiku reassured the people that with their mandate, he would firmly address the myriad of the problems facing the country.
The high point of the rally which attracted top PDP leaders from the North Central zone was the handing over of victory flags to the Atiku and the party’s gubernatorial flag bearers in thezone.