PROMINENT lawyer and activist, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has condemned the statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari, where he is alleged to have urged the military at a meeting of the APC leadership that anyone that snatch a ballot box does so at the expense of his life, adding that the president is usurping the powers of INEC and the Police.
Ozekhome stated that the president in his never fading military mindset uttered words that he described as most inflammatory and unconstitutional, adding that “this statement, to say the least, is not only outrageously unpresidential but it shows his extreme desperation and panicky mindset. For the records, it is the president’s own APC party that has so far been involved to the knowledge of the whole world in bizarre acts of electoral malpractices during their primaries, leading to an implosively divided party of disparate and inchoate tendencies.
“APC’s leading lights have so far preached terror, ‘body bags’, mayhem, strife, stoned their president and leaders booed, others killed; some in cold bloodshed denied themselves tickets, and generally engaged in acts of gangsterism, hooliganism and shameless ‘agberoism’ quite unbecoming of a ruling party. Presidents don’t preach violence nor engage in scaremongering as Buhari is currently doing at every turn and opportunity.
“Presidents are known to be extremely cautious and restrained, even when others do not. This is because a president is supposed to approximate the highest ideals, morals and nobility of the national psyche, ethos and consciousness. PMB still doesn’t appear to realise that he is no longer in opposition as he was between 2003 and 2015. He readily forgets in his brazen desperation to cling on to power at all costs that he is now the president of the largest black democracy on earth made up of about 200 million people.
“The statement is grossly reckless, incendiary, provocative, bellicose, belligerent and wholly condemnable. He even literally read the riot act to INEC chairman and staff, threatening them with fire and brimstone, if they do not do his bidding. This is to strike fear in them, as he has done to the judiciary, NASS, the press and voices of the opposition and critics. For the avoidance of doubt, the Electoral Act has already taken care of such matters as he appeared suddenly to be aware of. Section 129(4) of the Act 24 years imprisonment for anyone who snatches ballot boxes at an election.
“Section 131 of the Electoral Act, on the other hand, prescribes N1 million fine or 3 years imprisonment for anyone who directly or indirectly inflicts injury on others, or causes harm, violence, or uses duress and undue influence for the purpose of winning an election. The law is quite clear. It never prescribes the death penalty as Buhari wants to force in,” he stated.