The Presidency has reacted to a trending video showing a former All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, discussing the “arrest” of unnamed persons.
In the video, Mr Oshiomhole was seen walking briskly alongside Mr Gambari at the presidential villa and muttering, “arrest…deal with and the whole… will change.” Mr Gambari responded saying “we will go beyond…
The video has since drawn criticisms from Nigerians on social media due to the upcoming Edo governorship election, with many suggesting a possible clampdown on the opposition.
The full comments made by the duo were not quite audible, a review of the video shows.
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled the Edo and Ondo elections for September 19 and October 10 respectively.
Reacting to the viral video, presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, dispelled the allegations.
“It is very important to strongly dispel misguided messaging amongst commentators, rights activists, advocates and journalists who have been reacting to a trending short video clip, alleging that the Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and Chief Adams Oshiomhole, the former All Progressives Congress, APC chairman had hatched a plan to arrest opposition individuals ahead of the September, election in Edo State,” Mr Shehu said.
Shehu described the video as “an ingenious patchwork of mischief, extracted from an innocent conversation focused on the emerging incidents of violence in the run up to the election.
“It is equally a fact that various political parties campaigning in Edo have levelled accusations of violence against one another. In such a heightened state of uncertainty, responsible leadership, must ensure that elections are conducted in a peaceful manner and if warranted, judicious use of law enforcement to protect lives and properties of citizens is mobilised thus preventing criminal elements from subverting the democratic process,” Mr Shehu added.
He continued, “President Muhammadu Buhari does not support violence of any sort and its propagators will be brought to justice.
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“Equally important, is that the persons in the video, Professor Gambari and Comrade Oshiomhole have a history and track record of working to protect the rights of Nigerians and humanity of all walks of life, especially the poor and marginalized; and as such will not be found encouraging any conduct that runs counter to these values.”
The most recent state governorship elections in Nigeria have been characterised by violence by armed men sometimes in cahoot with security agencies, such as in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
Both elections were originally won by the APC which claimed the elections were peaceful despite evidence to the contrary and condemnation by most local and international observers.
The APC’s victory in Bayelsa was later annulled by the Supreme Court which ruled that its deputy governorship candidate was enmeshed in falsification of documents.