The President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC) has made it clear that no electoral offenders would be spared when he assumes office and begins to implement relevant electoral laws to punish them even as he promised to revisit the March 28 Presidential election held in Lagos and other places.
The President-elect, who spoke to newsmen at his Daura country home yesterday said that he would work with National Assembly to increase the punishment for the electoral offenders even as he wondered how APC could have performed so poorly in Lagos which is considered to be its headquarters.
“Rivers and Lagos were somehow seen as strategic to the PDP. Otherwise, how can the APC have a marginal 100,000 votes over PDP in Lagos, which is virtually the capital of the APC in the Southwest? A lot of things will come out, but we want to do it basically on facts which can be verified and quantified.
“I have just told you about three governors and the battle they had with the law enforcement agents in their states. We discussed and advised them to try and document these things legally so that it can be taken before the court so that people who work against the law are prosecuted. This is the best way to stabilize the system.
“People must not benefit from being lawless. You can’t be in a position by virtue of the constitution, then subvert the constitution and continue to enjoy the privileges offered by the Constitution. I don’t think that will be acceptable by the APC. So, whether you are in the opposition or the government, you have to behave yourself. That is the only way we can make progress.”
General Buhari who was reacting to reports of ballot snatching and electoral violence in Rivers, Edo and Lagos states said that the law enforcement agencies who undermined the constitution by indulging in rigging and violence during elections must be exposed and punished.
He said that he will lobby the National Assembly to ensure that relevant sections of the Constitution and Electoral Act are amended to ensure that election offenders are adequately punished.
“I will look for understanding and cooperation from the National Assembly where a change of the constitution or Electoral Act is necessary,” even as he promised to ensure that the Justice Muhammad Uwais Report on Electoral Matters is implemented. “I will say that I haven’t read the Uwais report, but I have read a few of the extracts from the papers. I think it is a good thing and we will encourage it.
“We need to get a comprehensive report from the field. The running battles in Rivers, the Southeast and the rest of the South south, especially by Governors Amaechi, Rochas Okorocha and the Governor of Edo State with INEC officials and law enforcement agencies is remarkable and I think it has to be totally exposed so that Nigerians will know which of the law enforcement agencies is involved and at what levels they undermined the constitution of Nigeria.”
The President-elect said that the Electoral Act is derived from the Constitution of the country and those who breach it should be made to know they are not beyond the law.
“That is what will bring more stability into the system. In view of that, I will try and work with the National Assembly to make sure that we do something about it.”
According to General Buhari, there was less disruption in yesterday’s elections than in the presidential poll, saying: “there was a few ballot snatching in some local government areas in Bayelsa and a few disruptions in Adamawa state, but that was nothing near what happened two weeks ago. I don’t think it is up to 25 per cent of what happened two weeks ago?”
Speaking on bribery of officials and voters during the elections, General Buhari said: “it would have been impossible for the APC to win anything in this country without the people’s approval because we don’t have the treasury in our pocket. There was no amount of money that could convince Nigerians this time around. A lot of them took the money and did exactly what their conscience wanted them to do, while some even returned the money.”