The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the planned nationwide military operation codenamed “Operation Python Dance 3.”
The Nigerian Army in launching the operation on Friday disclosed that it was designed to check violent and ethnic militia groups against disrupting the 2019 polls.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai who flagged off the exercise in Maiduguri explained that they were adopting the exercise nationwide as the “Operation Python Dance 1 and 2” used in the Southeast to stem insecurity was highly successful.
But the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, alleged that the planned operation was a ploy by President Muhammadu Buhari to legitimize the use of the Armed Forces to intimidate voters and rig the 2019 presidential poll.
The party alleged that the plot was in consonance with the alleged desperation of the Presidency to foist a siege mentality on the nation ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The opposition party claimed that the objective of the government was to put fear in the electorate and create a sense “of escalated insecurity, so as to stalemate the electoral process, once it becomes clearer that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was losing.”
The party added that its investigations revealed that the planned military operation “is a subterfuge to unleash heavy security presence to intimidate, harass and instill fear in voters in PDP strongholds across the country and pave the way for the allocation of fictitious votes to President Buhari and the APC.”
It further noted that “further investigation reveals that agents of the Buhari Presidency are working in cohort with some compromised top officials of the Prof Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use soldiers to provide cover for diversion of electoral materials, as well as aid APC agents in their plan to unleash violence and disrupt the electoral process in areas where the PDP is winning.
“In spanning the military operation to February 28, 2019, the Buhari Presidency betrayed its anticipation of public rejection of violence, which can only come when a result that does not reflect the actual wish of the people is announced.”
The PDP stated that everybody in the country and across the world, know where the tide is flowing in the 2019 polls, noting that Nigerians are eager for a new president, having lost confidence in the incumbent administration.
The party said it rejects in its entirety the deliberate plans by the Presidency to set the military on collision course with the populace, knowing too well the collateral damage that usually occurs whenever the civilian population clashes with the military.
“Our nation is a democratic state and we are not in a state of emergency that requires the militarization of our electoral process. Our military, which is cherished by Nigerians, should, therefore, foreclose any attempt by the Buhari Presidency to use it to set our country on fire.
“All that Nigerians desire at this point is to go to the polls and peacefully elect a new president to reposition our nation and not another round of electoral crisis.
“Moreover, the only threat to peaceful election today is the Buhari Presidency, which has been overheating the polity with its official high-handedness, clamp down on opposition and desperation to rig the polls,” the opposition party stated. However, it added that if the government believes that a military operation is needed to ensure peaceful poll in any part of the country, they should seek the approval of the National Assembly to that effect.