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AS Nigerians go to polls on Saturday, February 25, 2023 to elect the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Federal Lawmakers, events have begun to unfold overtly or covertly over the elections.
An audio surfaced online linking the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and his Vice,Ifeanyi Okowa and the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal allegedly planning how to rig Saturday’s Presidential elections.
SOJ WORLDWIDE brought all sides of the news for the benefit of our readers who demanded to know what actually happened.
Below is the Audio, the Transcript and the reactions of the PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar:
LISTEN TO AUDIO;
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TRANSCRIPT OF VOICE RECORDING OF HOW ATIKU, OKOWA AND TAMBUWAL ALLEGEDLY PLANNED TO RIG PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
ATIKU: There will be need to bring in the INEC
OKOWA: There will be need to interface with INEC and not create suspicion
TAMBUWAL: For me to accept to go into this, let us strategize and discuss the arrangement and how it can be achieved.
ATIKU: Tambuwal, that’s why we are meeting. Let us sit down and find any other technology that may be used to make sure we emerge. We have to look for a way to find loopholes.
OKOWA: We are going to provide for the INEC officials starting from the polling units through to the ward collation centers and I just hope that we are going to find a way to rig the elections. This is the best time.
ATIKU: It is not enough. First of all, you give money to the state INEC. There will be need to bring in the INEC and also make sure they don’t use BVAS. We have seen what the use caused in Osun. Atiku Abubakar, I am with you on this one.
OKOWA: And you also supervise to make sure we use the central bank. We must find a way to get them out of power.
TAMBUWAL: It will be extremely difficult in a way. You see, it depends on certain fundamental indices. If Nigerians are having only two options clearly from two regions, then one of them will be.
The numbers will count in this case and we all know the voting strength of each bloc in this country.
OKOWA: It is obviously a major issue. We should look at the things that will bring us result. We must also look at the process that makes one of our best to be president.
TAMBUWAL: I don’t like mistakes. I have won my elections 5 times consecutively. You all know that I have the support of my home base but it is not about me. It is about Atiku Abubakar and making him president.
OKOWA: We cannot act in disregard of normal rule. We must give INEC money to run their normal processes on their own. They must mobilize their people for the purpose of the election. That is going to make a stronger impact. Not the way we are going through.
ATIKU: What are those areas that will be difficult to win in the elections
OKOWA: The INEC officials need to take instructions from the PDP agents and there is no doubt about the process. They will be good enough that is not questionable.
TAMBUWAL: Are you sure that this time we can win the elections?
OKOWA: YES! It must be done in such a way that it is skewed towards the PDP.
TAMBUWAL: Even with BVAS?
OKOWA: Yes, it is just a question of trying.
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ATIKU REACTS TO ALLEGED AUDIO:
In a statement on Friday,
Phrank Shiabu who is the Special Assistant on Public Communications writes,
“In this latest drivel, a montage of speeches delivered by Atiku, Tambuwal, and Okowa since last year were manipulated and pieced together to give an impression that they were discussing plans to rig Saturday’s election. In this age of artificial intelligence technology, even dead people can be portrayed as delivering speeches. This is nothing new.
“For the record, Atiku has run in two presidential elections and has never been indicted or prosecuted for election violence or vote buying.
“But some people think they can sell a narrative of Atiku manipulating this election. This is indeed the height of desperation, the last kick of a dying horse. The APC and the Labour Party must note that elections are not won on social media but at the polling units.”
“It is unfortunate that those seeking power will engage in outdated defeatist tactics. How can Tambuwal be referring to Atiku by his full name in a one-on-one private conversation? This is nonsensical, similar to the type of meaningless chatter about President Muhammadu Buhari being dead and replaced by one Jubril from Sudan.”
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“When they descend to the level of baseless propaganda, we will rise above it with dignity and respond with our PVCs. This election is a watershed in Nigerian history. Nigerians must not lose sight of what is most important, which is the need to rebuild this broken system, revitalise the economy, and improve security and the hope of the people in a united Nigeria.”
Mr Shaibu called on the police and other security agencies as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remain fair and neutral in the polls.
He also asked the authorities to go after those behind the audio tape citing Section 123(c) of the Electoral Act which provides that “any person who before or during an election publishes any statement to the personal character or conduct of a candidate calculated to prejudice the chance of election of the candidate or to promote or procure the election of another candidate and such statement is false and was published without reasonable grounds for belief by the person publishing it that the statement is true, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both.”
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