Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Atiku Abubakar, and National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus, have shown video clips of alleged rigging of February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections in the country to members of National Peace Committee headed by a former Head of State, Mr Abdulsalami Abubakar.
They presented the videos in Abuja on Thursday night.
Among those who watched the clips with the former head of state were Mr John Onaiyekan and Mr Matthew Kukah.
PDP members who were at the meeting, which held at Asokoro, Abuja residence of the former vice-president, included PDP vice-presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi; President of the Senate, who is also Director-General of PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Bukola Saraki; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
It was gathered that Abdulsalami had been trying to meet with Atiku and his team since the announcement of the election results by Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja in the early hours of Wednesday.
Announcing the results, Yakubu had said that the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, President Muhammadu Buhari, won with 15,191,847 votes as against 11,262,978 polled by Atiku of PDP.
The former vice-president and his party had rejected the results and said they would seek redress in court.
At the meeting with Abdulsalami-led committee on Thursday night, investigations by one of our correspondents showed that Secondus narrated to NPC members how members of PDP were allegedly molested and denied opportunity to cast their votes in many states.
It was also gathered that Abdulsalami and members of his committee were shown video clips of how soldiers allegedly brutalised PDP members in some states and the sacking of some polling units by thugs suspected to be loyal to the ruling party without security agents present taking any action.
The video clips were said to have been watched by other NPC members in attendance.
A source, who was at the meeting said, “At a point during the meeting, we decided to show video clips of how soldiers helped APC to rig the elections in some states. We also showed them how security agents looked the other way when thugs invaded polling and coalition centres in some states.
“We asked the retired General whether that was how he used the military to conduct the 1999 elections. But instead of replying, he laughed and laughed. I think he was trying to tell us that he is a different person or something like that.
“We told him how the late Head of State, Mr Sani Abacha, did not pretend during his transition period that he wanted to be the sole candidate of all the five registered political parties then. We now said that Mr Buhari ought to have told Nigerians that he wanted to be the sole candidate so that we would have known how to address the matter from the outset, instead of using the military to achieve what he could not have achieved by claiming to be the sole candidate.”
It was also learnt that Obi, who is a former governor of Anambra State, said he had to leave his home in his state on the eve of the election because of activities of security men who allegedly terrorised his area.
It was gathered that Atiku told NPC members that he was surprised that they did not do anything despite all the issues raised by his party after he joined Buhari to sign the peace agreement.
He was said to have claimed that the country was already divided and that he regretted signing the peace agreement because of the events that unfolded after.
“At a time, Atiku became emotional. He said he regretted signing the Peace Agreement because members of the committee did not attend to complaints by PDP after its signing and before the conduct of the elections,” another source added.
Osinbajo justifies APC’s victory
But at the meeting the Abdulsalami-led committee had with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, also on Thursday night,committee members were told that APC did not rig the elections.
It was gathered that Mr Osinbajo, a professor of law and an ordained pastor of Redeemed Christian Church of God, said the ruling party’s victory was not a fluke.
Sources at the meeting said the vice-president analysed the voting pattern and concluded that there was no way PDP would have won the elections as being claimed by members of the main opposition party.
The source said, “The Vice President told us how APC deserved the victory it got and how Buhari had transformed the economy and worked on the security architecture of the country. He spoke on how the Federal Government had used the military to restore peace to North-East.
“He said APC got the huge number of votes it got from the North-East because voters wanted to show gratitude to the President and his team. He also explained how the President had usually got huge number of votes from both the North-East and North-West even when he was a member of a small political party that did not have any structure.”
At the end of the meeting, our correspondent learnt that Onaiyekan told the vice-president that the President must pursue reconciliation and that it would not be good to have a divided country.
“The Cardinal told him (Osinbajo) that Federal Government must listen to the people, pursue reconciliation,” the source added.
We’ve presented Atiku’s grievances to Buhari –Abdusalami
Meanwhile, the Abdulsalami-led National Peace Committee members on Friday held a meeting with Buhari.
The meeting was a follow-up to a similar one the committee held with presidential candidate of PDP and his running mate, Obi, over the outcome of the poll.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, the former head of state said the committee presented the grievances of PDP and Atiku to the President.
The meeting, which was attended by National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, lasted one hour, ending at 4pm.
On the discussions at the meeting, the former head of state said, “Atiku presented his grievances and his observations; he did not present any condition, he gave his complaints, which we have presented and discussed with Mr President to see what can be done.”
Abubakar added that a similar meeting of the committee held with Atiku a day earlier was to see how peace would flow from the presidential election across Nigeria.
“Yesterday, l met PDP presidential candidate and his party in order to ensure peace. This is what this committee is really after, our concern is about Nigeria. And in order to listen to their grievances and what they think has gone wrong, we are here today to see the President to relay the fears and concerns of PDP to Mr President.
“He listened to us and has taken note of what we have told him,” Abubakar told State House correspondents.”