A national leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s threat to ballot snatchers was not an order to kill Nigerians during the elections.
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.
The statement had generated mixed feelings from Nigerians with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), saying Buhari’s threat was a direct call for jungle justice and a license to kill.
Reacting, Tinubu, speaking with reporters at the end of the meeting, said Buhari’s directive was not an order to start killing citizens but a reinforcement meant to put the citizens in check during the elections.
He said: “I was in that meeting; the president was just reinforcing the fact that if you are out there snatching ballot boxes, and causing destruction, you are at risk of your own life.
“Whatever happens to you; no president will give an order that his own citizens should be shot summarily. No! No, its okay, emotions are running high these days. Any individual including myself can be misinterpreted.
“These are not his words; he is a law abiding person and he understands categorically and clearly what rule of law is and the lives of individual citizens, that he is in that office to protect.
“Now, let me run this; he has been fighting Boko Haram, kidnappers and all these before this election, did you hear him asking them to be shot and executed summarily? If he has gone through that in the last five years, please give a benefit of the doubt.”
When asked if the postponement cast doubt on the credibility of INEC, Tinubu said, “It depends on how it is handled and the process. How the process is managed; you can convert in crisis–a situation of adversity to an opportunity and progress
“The INEC, under the law , they are empowered to postpone, cancel and do whatever is necessary to ensure free and fair election. No party no matter the anger, the disappointment, no party can reverse that. So, we are ready for February 23.”
Speaking on INEC’s stance on campaigns, Tinubu said: “By law we should continue to energise our people; it depends on our resources. Because the Electoral Act allows us to that; and ask led us to stop campaigning only 24 hours before the actual election,” he said.
“And once you have change the date to February 23, you have given us the opening to campaign and energise. If you have a garden and you don’t nourish with water, the grass will remain dormant; we don’t want our party to remain dormant.
“This is ability of leadership to convert adversity to opportunity and prosperity and that’s it; that’s what we must do.”