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In Sokoto, APC engaged in massive vote-buying during presidential poll –PDP

A member of the Peoples Democratic Party presidential/governorship campaign council, Alhaji Yusuf Dingyadi, in this interview with ADENIYI OLUGBEMI, describes the presidential and the National Assembly elections as a sham

Your party lost the presidential election and only managed to win two House of Representatives seats.  Why was responsible for the abysmal performance?

  What you are referring to as polls are nothing short of the worst elections that Nigeria has ever witnessed. This can be buttressed by the wide condemnations  that trailed the irregularities. The PDP in Sokoto State is also joining others in rejecting the outcome.The kind of intimidation our party members suffered before and during the election was unprecedented in the political history of our state. The APC leaders and their agents scared away voters in the strongholds of the PDP in the state.

 Security agents arrested some PDP leaders in the state prior to the day of the election as well as on the election day on trumped up charges of vote-buying. Our party chairman in the Sokoto North Local Government and the state publicity secretary of our party are some of the party leaders arrested on the election day. The houses of some of our party leaders were ransacked on the trumped up charges of money laundering.

Alteration of election results and other irregularities were witnessed in most of our  strongholds such as Denge-Shuni, Tambuwal, Kebbe, Shagari, Yabo and Bodinga. In other areas identified as our strongholds, logistic and technical problems delayed balloting to very late hours.

 The elections initially suffered postponement. What are the implications of the postponement?

 The implications are monumental and the international embarrassment is immeasurable. My submission is that Nigeria should stop celebrating failure by giving stupid reasons that really disgrace our nation. The logistic problems have been used as reasons at every election, people tend to use it as a reason for failure. I think it is high time we stopped giving such reasons for our elections, especially when INEC had come out to tell us that they were ready.

Don’t you see all these allegations coming uo again in Saturday’s elections?

On our part, we have mapped out strategies to forestall a repeat of electoral malpractice perpetrated against our party. We have discovered that voting closed in some of our strongholds before stipulated time. The use of card readers was jettisoned in some places for manual accreditation. There were cases of vote -buying, especially in the rural areas where there was no security and there were instances of intimidation of our agents at polling units up to collation centres.

 How do you rate your chances in the next governorship and state assembly that is just few days ahead?

 To us in the Sokoto PDP, we have moved on from the presidential and National Assembly elections. We are now focusing on the governorship and state assembly elections. The coming elections are definitely going to be different and will surely end in our favour. I will want to seize this opportunity to urge our supporters not to be disillusioned with our stolen victory but, be prepared to come out and elect the PDP candidates in the governorship and state assembly elections.

  The APC, throughout the campaign was always receiving defectors  from the PDP in Sokoto State. Is that not worrisome to you?

 You have only seen such on the social media because anybody can sit in his house and write that he receives this and that number of people. If anyone believes such lies, the PDP by now would not have anyone left. Our campaign was devoid of lies because, we have a candidate that has a direction and understands the problem of Sokoto.

  Some people are of the opinion that Governor Aminu Tambuwal has not performed to deserve second term. What is your take on this?

 Well, everyone is entitled to his opinion. I travelled to every nook and cranny of the state with the governor throughout the campaign and all the reports we heard showed  appreciation from the people. The campaign of under- performance was the  APC propaganda and they will continue wailing until they realise we have won the elections.

  There was a scenario in Sokoto politics when Aliyu Wamakko in 2007 resigned as deputy governor to defeat his boss. Ahmed Aliyu, the APC candidate has done same. Are you not foreseeing the same scenario?

 What happened in 2007 is different from what is happening now.  Now,  the EFCC and other security agencies have been let loose to intimidate and detain people perceived as political enemy. The scenario of 2007 will never repeat itself because our people know who is better between Aminu Tambuwal and his former deputy, Ahmed Aliyu.

Do not forget that in 2007, Aliyu Wamakko resigned because he was about to be impeached while Ahmed Aliyu resigned out of respect for Tambuwal. Ahmed resigned on his own volition, nobody forced him. I sympathise with him because if he had stayed, Tambuwal could have made him his running mate, but now he is going to lose two things at the same time because, nobody will make him a governor but God.

There was a  margin of 138,729 votes between the APC and  the PDP at the presidential election in the state. Do you agree that the APC will remain a hard nut that would not be easy to crack come Saturday?

 The APC should stop counting their chickens before the eggs are hatched. For record purpose, Buhari has always been winning elections in Sokoto with a wide margin, even when Aliyu Wamakko was governor. This time around, we are able to close the margin. Now that Buhari is out of this contest, the tide must change at the governorship and state assembly elections because, this is a local election.

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