The presidential spokesman of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Garba Shehu, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s threat to ballot snatchers should be seen as a strong message against the long history of “savagery” associated with elections in the country.
Buhari, at a meeting of APC leaders in Abuja on Monday, warned that anyone planning to snatch ballot boxes or rig the forthcoming elections will do so at the expense of his own life.
This has since generated mixed feelings with many Nigerians saying the president was inciting electoral violence.
However, Garba, speaking with state house correspondents on Tuesday, expressed concern about those attacking the president’s comment saying no one has anything to fear if their conscience is clear.
He said, “This sounds like members of the opposition, specifically the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who have perfected plans to rig the elections and to snatch ballot boxes.
“They can tell that President Buhari is not prepared to tolerate their antics this time around, and they are afraid. They have shown their intent.”
“No one has anything to fear from the president’s comments if their conscience and intentions are clear.
“Snatching ballot boxes often entails putting the lives of innocent Nigerians at risk. About 10 years ago, evidence was brought before an election tribunal from one of the states in North Central of the gruesome killing of 26 prospective voters by ballot box snatchers. Their modus operandi is well known. They storm election venues in commando style, overwhelm the law-enforcement agents and seize ballot boxes leaving a trail of death and injury.
“Anyone who dares to put the lives of innocent citizens at risk in their desperation to rig elections, must be prepared for the possibility of losing their own lives because our security agents will certainly not stand by, clap for them and watch them kill and maim.”