Military has no role to play in the conduct of elections —Atiku

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In what appears to be his response to President Muhammadu Buhari ’ s order to security agents to “ be ruthless ” with those who try to foment trouble during the rescheduled general elections , PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar , has said that the military has no role to play in the conduct of elections .

Speaking at the Peoples Democratic Party ’s National Executive Council meeting at the party headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday , Atiku noted that the President ’s directive was “ a painful reminder of the era of dictatorship and military rule,” arguing that , beyond its constitutional mandate to protect national integrity and the borders, “ the military has no role to play in the conduct of elections .”

The former vice president also counselled “ all security agencies to uphold our constitution with an understanding that voting is a civil activity and civic responsibility. ”

He also advised the Independent National Electoral Commission to “ ensure that all logistical challenges are addressed between now and Saturday ,” and that all materials retrieved from the field are inspected by participating political parties before the commencement of the elections .

In the message entitled , ‘Remarks at PDP NEC Meeting By His Excellency Atiku Abubakar GCON , Former Vice President of Nigeria and Presidential Candidate of the PDP , ’ the presidential hopeful said,

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I find it necessary to , firstly , pay tribute to every member of our great party, and our long – suffering people who directly bear the costs of the cancellation of the first phase of our general elections that was to commence on February 16th, 2019.

I am sure we can all relate to the losses and burden on our citizens who travelled to various destinations for the exercise .This is in addition to the burden on election personnel willing to sacrifice in furtherance of our democracy .

Inadequately prepared and yet deployed to hostile centres , these personnel , like us all , have also become victims of the potentially destructive path upon which our country has been thrust. Nevertheless , together we stand poised on the edge of victory , but we must not let down our guard or lessen our resolve as we have an opponent who will stop at nothing to retain power .

Our goal is not to gain power for our own sake , but for the people of our country who have been so hard hit by four years of APC cluelessness and incompetence .

Four years which have seen 14 million more of our people without jobs , more of our people killed than ever before and more of our people living in extreme poverty than any other nation on this planet.

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Let us not forget that in the last three years of the last PDP administration , Nigeria had become the largest economy in Africa and in each of those years, we had the fastest growth rate in our continent .

And so true to our values and commitment to chart a new path for our beloved country , our campaigns have been issues – based, offering Nigerians hope for a better tomorrow; while demanding free , fair , transparent and credible elections from the government .

The feedback from our supporters throughout the country confirmed their desire and willingness to entrust their destiny to us as a viable alternative to their hopelessness . However, it now appears that our participatory democracy which we have enjoyed for 20 years, which empowers our citizens to decide who leads them , is under threat. This is worrisome, considering the great sacrifices including the ultimate sacrifice made by many to uphold the tenets of democracy in our country .

You will recall that during the Peace Accord process, I stated in clear terms , quoting former President Goodluck that “ my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.” Today, I call on President Buhari , to make that same commitment to the people whose mandate he holds , while also urging all security agencies to uphold our constitution with an understanding that voting is a civil activity and civic responsibility.

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