•Says I don’t see Buhari having vested interest in free, fair election
“His stewardship has been consistently defective in all manners and I don’t see him suddenly developing an attribute that he doesn’t have”
Ahead of the forthcoming presidential election, the Labour party has been described as an unbeatable party in a free and fair poll in the country.
Meanwhile, the President on different occasions has assured Nigerians that his topmost priority as the outgoing president was to leave a legacy of a free, fair and credible general election come February 2023.
However, in an exclusive interview with Saturday Tribune, the Labour Party’s Director-General of the Presidential Campaign Council, Chief Akin Osuntokun, revealed that Buhari’s “stewardship has been consistently defective in all manners.”
Chief Osuntokun, who was responding to questions on the chances of his party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in Southwest, underscored the acceptance of Obi in Lagos among other states of the region, stating however that with the free and fair election, the Labour party is a party to beat at the poll.
Continuing, the LP Campaign DG explained his reservation over the tendency of not having a free and fair election.
“Yes, but let’s wait and see what comes. We want to see it to believe it. My evidence is circumstantial and it is a fact that I don’t see President Buhari having a vested interest in a free and fair election unless I want to deceive myself.
“His stewardship has been consistently defective in all manners and I don’t see him suddenly developing an attribute that he doesn’t have. The INEC man, regardless of their protestations to the contrary, I keep believing that there is a patch somewhere that these people that I know, I don’t see them having a vested interest in a credible election,” he said.
Speaking further, Osuntokun maintained his scepticism of the possibility of having a free and fair election with Buhari in charge as the outgoing president, adding that the president’s choice of Professor Mahmood Yakubu as the chairman of the nation’s electoral body is unprecedented.
He said: “I don’t know what they have done or what they might have done, but I’m very skeptical of their mission. Look at their background, President Buhari is the first military or civilian president of Nigeria who has appointed the INEC chairman from his constituency. There’s none in the history of Nigeria from Tafawa Balewa to this period that appointed the INEC chief from his constituency.
“The reason for this is to instil confidence that prima facie, I don’t have a vested personal interest in this. But Buhari was even contemplating putting his niece until he was manoeuvred and the woman was prevented from becoming the INEC chairman. But the woman is still there in the commission.”
The LP Campaign DG queried the eligibility of those he described as “itinerant Fulani” as voters in the forthcoming election, insisting however that President Buhari has no record of free and fair elections.
“So, we wait to see what happens. And off the cuff, have we wondered how they register itinerant Fulani who is tending their cattle from the North to the South? How they are even counted? How are they recorded to come and vote?
“Is this an area for manipulation and so on? But we wait and see but going by the record and reputation of this president, I don’t see any free and fair election overriding his interest. I don’t see that happening. We have to be alert because eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. So, we have to be vigilant,” he added.