By Casmir Igbokwe

NEWSDAILYNIGERIA: The ruling party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the government it sired, appear to be treading the dangerous path of acute desperation. This malady is almost translating into paranoid delusions. It is as if sanity has gone on break in the inner circles of this biggest ruling party in Africa – all in a bid to snatch power and run with it.

Last week, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was in Washington DC in the United States of America. His trip was specifically to lie against the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi. In what has become a clear waste of scarce public funds, Alhaji Mohammed gathered some journalists from the ‘Washington Post’, Voice of America, Foreign Policy Magazine, and Associated Press to inform them that Obi and his running mate, Dr. Yusuf Datti-Ahmed, had committed treason in Nigeria.

Mohammed added that “Obi and his Vice, Datti-Ahmed cannot be threatening Nigerians that if the President-elect, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is sworn in on May 29, it will be the end of democracy in Nigeria. This is treason. You cannot be inviting insurrection, and that is what they are doing. Obi’s statement is that of a desperate person, he is not a democrat that he claimed to be.”

I have searched and continued to search for the ingredients of this treason which the former Anambra state governor committed. I have not seen any. The only thing he did was that he went to court to challenge the outcome of the flawed presidential election held on February 25, 2023. His enemies do not want him to continue with this process. They have done everything possible to humiliate him and make him drop his court case. They thought they could entrap him with women. They failed. They scrutinized his accounts. They found nothing incriminating. They have staged drama inside an aircraft just to present him in bad light. That did not work. They even put pressure on him to leave the country. That also failed.

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Obi, as a Nigerian cannot be forced out of his country for no justifiable reason. As a democrat, all his interest is to ensure an egalitarian society in his country. He has refused to be intimidated. In his response to Lai Mohammed, he said he had never discussed or encouraged anyone to undermine the Nigerian state. He described the allegations against him as malicious and fictitious.

Seeing that Obi is a hard nut to crack, they went for his party. Last week, a group of thugs and armed policemen broke into the national headquarters of the LP in Abuja. They chased the workers away and paved way for a certain Lamidi Apapa to take over as acting Chairman. This happens to be one of the attempts to create artificial crisis in the LP and probably force it to abandon its election petition. Incidentally, 28 state chairmen of the party stormed their national secretariat on Friday to reclaim it. They also passed a vote of confidence on their suspended National Chairman, Barrister Julius Abure.

Clearly, there is sheer desperation on the part of the people who claimed to have won the 2023 election. They are in panic mode and can do anything to retain the outcome of the fraud called 2023 elections. It is unfortunate that the Department of State Services (DSS) has lent itself to be used in these desperate attempts to subvert the will of the majority of the Nigerian people. This is even what constitutes treason.

Last Friday, the DSS reportedly arrested a United Kingdom based Nigerian pastor, Tomi Arayomi, and his wife, Tema, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, for “inciting prophecies”. This pastor, who is the Founder of RIG Nation and Pioneer Church, UK, was reported to have said that the 2023 election would first produce Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as president-elect, but that things would change thereafter. That was the inciting prophecy he made. Though he is said to have been released, his ordeal advertised the insane actions of a few cabal to grab power at all costs.

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This same DSS recently flew a kite about some political actors plotting to install interim government in Nigeria. Without providing details, it claimed it had the list of people who were making this plot, warning that it would not hesitate to take necessary legal steps against such people.

The cabal’s propaganda overdrive also manifested in the way they manipulated the telephone conversation between Obi and the General Overseer of the Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo. In the leaked audio, Obi allegedly told Oyedepo to support him; that the 2023 election was a religious war. The audio was reportedly translated into Hausa language and shared on many Whatsapp platforms in the North. The idea was to create animosity against Obi and present him as a religious and ethnic bigot who does not deserve to be President of Nigeria.

Even Datti-Ahmed was not spared. They said he committed treason because he spoke angrily about the way the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Tinubu as President-elect. According to him, it will be the end of democracy to swear in somebody who has not met the constitutional requirements.

APC chieftains like Festus Keyamo, Bayo Onanuga and Femi Fani-Kayode have said worse things. They have continued to make incendiary comments which could drag this country into the abyss if not well handled. Yet, the powers that be have not found it necessary to upbraid them. They have continued to walk with swagger, waiting for another opportunity to vomit their inanities.

One thing is certain. Truth is constant. Liars may succeed some of the time, but ultimately, truth will triumph. No amount of official plots, lies, propaganda and intimidation can obliterate it. The wishes of the Nigerian people will eventually prevail.

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Let me conclude by extensively quoting Lai Mohammed who, in November 2014, vowed that the APC would form a parallel government if the 2015 elections were rigged by the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Mohammed said, “Let us remind the presidency, in case it has forgotten, that election fraud triggered a civil war in Algeria in the early 1990s, led to the killing of over 1,000 people in post-election riots in Kenya in 2007/2008 and fired a near revolution in Iran in 2009/2010. Electoral frauds also corrupt democracy and breed dictatorship, and risks making the people to lose confidence in democracy. Why then would any government react violently if warned against election rigging?

“For us, the gloves are off. We will no longer engage in any nicety as long as some people are bent on thwarting the will of the people through electoral fraud. All we are demanding is a free, fair and credible election. All we are saying is that no one should incite the people by stealing their mandate. How these demands can be construed to mean treason is as baffling as the do-or-die disposition of the ruling PDP to elections.”

History has a way of repeating itself. May our democracy never stumble! May we never dance naked in the market square because of power! Happy Easter!

  • Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, April 10, 2023

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