The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of orchestrating violence in the country to extend President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure beyond 2023. Nigerians have witnessed crises in Sokoto, Kano and Abuja, in the last one week, while bandits kidnapped scores of travellers on Abuja-Kaduna Road. PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, who spoke on Friday when he received the European Union delegation led by the ambassador Ms Samuela Isopi, expressed the hope that the violence was not deliberate. Ayu also hoped that the APC “will willingly concede defeat and hand over power to the Nigerian people,” if it loses the 2023 presidential election. He stated that democracy is best when there is smooth transition from one electoral cycle to the other, which he said PDP demonstrated in 2015.
“We didn’t use agencies of the state to stay in power. “We conceded defeat and when we win we expect those who are currently in government to concede defeat because they are going to lose the next election. “And they shouldn’t hang in there and create an atmosphere of instability in the country,” he demanded. The PDP National Chairman also decried poor mobilisation of Nigerians to participate in the ongoing voter registration exercise. According to him, even though the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is trying, but we still think they can do better. Registration of voters in Nigeria is very low.”
Ayu said INEC has the technical capacity to mobilise Nigerians, noting that in a population of almost 200 million people “we expect that 40 per cent of the population be captured on the electoral register, and that is not the case. “I think what we have today is less than five per cent and it is not good enough.” He appreciated the European Union’s support to the Nigerian democracy, adding that for 24 years, the EU has helped to stabilise the nation’s democracy. “The European Union has actually been a very worthy partner. They have always given support; they have shown interest, and we hope this will continue, because we don’t want to return to the dark days of dictatorship.
“We hope that the European Union as our friends in the international community will continue to support genuine democratic processes and institutions, because no country lives as an isolated entity in the world,” he said. The EU ambassador said the visit was part of the consultations with election stakeholders towards the conduct of next year’s general election. Isopi restated the EU’s “commitment as a strong partner with Nigeria and the Nigerian people. “This is part of our regular consultations with all the stakeholders, actors and partners, particularly in view of the next elections and I would like to reaffirm our support to Nigeria’s democracy. “We continue to work together with all the institutions and stakeholders involved.’’