The Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday said it was opposed to the commencement of a nationwide military exercise, Egwu Eke III otherwise called Python Dance.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, had said the military exercise which would commence from January 1, 2019 and last till February 28 was in preparation against security challenges anticipated before, during and after the 2019 general election.
But the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan in a statement alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was plotting to use the planned nationwide ‘Operation Python Dance’ to legitimise his administration’s alleged ploy of using the military to intimidate voters and rig the 2019 presidential election.
He stated that Buhari planned to use the military having realised that he cannot win in a free and fair poll.
According to him, the plot is in line with the alleged desperation of the Buhari Presidency to foist a siege mentality on the nation ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Ologbondiyan, who is also the Director, Media and Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Organization said, “Our investigation shows that part of the plot is to use the military operation as a subterfuge to unleash heavy security presence to intimidate, harass and instil 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.
“Further investigation revealed 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 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 or violence, which can only come when a result that does not reflect the actual wish of the people is announced.”
Ologbondiyan stated that everybody in Nigeria and world over, including the Presidency, knew the direction the 2019 presidential election tide is flowing.
He added that Nigerians are eager for a new president, having lost confidence in Buhari, due to his alleged failures in governance.
He said, “The PDP PCO, therefore, rejects this deliberate attempt by the Buhari Presidency to set our military on a collision course with Nigerians, bearing in mind the collateral damage that usually occurs whenever the civilian population clashes with 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.”
According to him, all that Nigerians desire at this point is to go to the polls and peacefully elect a new President to reposition the nation and not another round of electoral crisis.