The Action Congress of Nigeria has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government is planning to plunge the country into crisis.
The ACN, at a news conference in Lagos on Sunday, said the ultimate goal of the government and the PDP “was to make free and fair elections impossible in 2015.”
It also claimed through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that the government was pitting the North against the South-West and Christians against Muslims.
Adding that there was an ulterior motive in the recent award of oil pipeline protection contract in the South-West, the ACN said the arrest of some suspected Boko Haram members in a building believed to be owned by the Bayelsa State Government in Lagos raised the red flag.
But the Presidency and the PDP denounced the claims, saying they were "grossly misleading" and “tissues of lies.”
At the news conference, however, the ACN said the PDP and the Federal Government had plans A and B for the 2015 elections.
Plan A, according to the opposition party, is to ensure that the elections did not hold so that they (PDP and FG) would seek tenure elongation while the Plan B is to make sure the polls took place under curfew to give them (PDP and FG) the cover they need to rig.
The ACN said, “It is no longer a secret that the PDP-led Federal Government has failed the nation in all ramifications.To make matters worse, the party itself is imploding as a result of its own failings. Against this background, the PDP is keenly aware that it has totally lost the confidence of all Nigerians.
“It (PDP) has now realised that if indeed the 2015 elections are free and fair and conducted in a conducive environment, there will be no chance for the party.
“What is the way out for the PDP? The party has decided to go for the broke: either there will be no elections in 2015 or the polls will be conducted in an atmosphere of chaos, thereby paving the way for the PDP to do what it knows best – rig elections.
“Also being considered is a plan under which emergency rule will be imposed on most parts of the country, following which elections will be put in abeyance, paving the way for tenure elongation. Instigation of violence in hitherto peaceful parts of the country is one of the means to achieve this plan.
“We make bold to say that the stand of the PDP is that having seen the handwriting on the wall, it realises it cannot win any free and fair elections in 2015.”
The ACN noted that since the Boko Haram crisis broke out, it had been largely restricted to some parts of the North.
This, according to the party, makes it possible for the Federal Government and its agents to tell prospective foreign investors and others that the whole country had not been engulfed in violence.
It said, “But now, the areas that have been largely peaceful are being targeted by those who will only be happy when the whole country is in turmoil.”
The opposition party added that recent events in the South-West, at the instance of the PDP-led Federal Government, were extremely dangerous.
The ACN added that it suspected that the recent award of oil pipeline protection contract in the South-West was to recruit thousands of youths that would be used to cause violence in the South-West.
It said, “A multi-billion naira contract has suddenly been awarded for the protection of oil pipelines in the region.
“The main beneficiary of the contract has suddenly realised that the Unity Party of Nigeria, formed by the respected statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, is no longer in existence, and has thus decided to revive it.
“Just about the same time, suspected Boko Haram members have been arrested in Lagos, specifically at a house belonging to the government of Bayelsa State.
“We ask, ‘what is the real intention of the Federal Government in awarding this oil pipeline protection contract? Is it a mere coincidence that the main beneficiary of the multi-billion naira oil pipeline protection contract is also the same fellow who is promoting the revival of UPN?
“Could the huge contract have been meant to provide the seed money for the promoters of this party? Is it true, as it is being alleged in certain quarters, that the essence of the contract is to recruit 30,000 youths who will ostensibly protect the pipelines, but in the real sense are ready hands to foment violence on demand in the South-West?
“Is it true that the so-called revival of the UPN is to provide a platform for anarchists and end-gamers in the South-West to infiltrate the ranks of the progressives and throw the region into chaos?
“Why is it that suddenly, Boko Haram suspects are popping up in Lagos, and some of those who have been arrested were residing in a building owned by the Bayelsa State Government?”
The party also said that there was need to unmask the brains behind the continuous efforts to sabotage the merger of the progressives.
It stated that there was need to know those who bankrolled people parading themselves as members of the African Peoples Congress.
The ACN noted that a new group was trying to register APCN, in continuation of the All Nigeria Peoples Party Stakeholders which had making spurious claims concerning the All Progressives Congress.
It said it was also concerned by allegations that the Federal Government might be promoting a policy of inciting some parts of the country against the other, as well as Christians against Muslims.
The party reiterated its position that the Boko Haram crisis was social rather than religious .
It said that the crisis had festered either due to the ineptitude of the Federal Government or because it fitted into the game plan of those bent on erecting a road block on the path to free, fair and peaceful polls in 2015.
“But the Presidency, in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, described the ACN allegations as “blatantly false and grossly misleading.”
In the statement entitled, “Lai Mohammed’s Public Disinformation Tactics,” the Presidency urged members of the public to pay careful attention to those who believed they could create doubt about the present administration’s efforts by crying wolf where none exists.
The Presidency recalled that in a previous press statement, it had pointed out that a well-organised campaign by the opposition designed to mislead the public, discredit the person and office of President Jonathan, and cause disaffection within the polity was being planned.
It said that it was a fact that Jonathan had presided over major elections since his assumption of office – the 2011 general elections, the 2012 state gubernatorial elections in Edo, Kogi, Adamawa, Sokoto, Cross River and Bayelsa as well as others in different parts of the country; which were all adjudged by local and international observers as free, fair and peaceful.
The Presidency said when juxtaposed against Mohammed’s allegations, it would appear to any discerning citizen that the ACN’s spokesman was engaging in “disinformation, the likes of which we heard ahead of the elections referenced above, thus suggesting a well worn tactic.”
It added, “ Mohammed’s allegations of tenure elongation, instigation of violence, likely emergency rule, and a sinister plan that will make free and fair elections impossible in 2015 are entirely hollow and a figment of his imagination.
“More specifically and to buttress his conspiratorial claim, the ACN spokesman alleged that the Federal Government has awarded an oil pipeline protection contract to serve as a smokescreen to fund activities that would create chaos in the South-West. Fact is, no such contract was ever awarded by this administration.”
Also, the PDP described the allegations by the ACN as mischievous and lacking in merit.
Its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisah Metuh, wondered why the ACN was making the allegations knowing well that the government had given the requisite support to strengthen security operatives in the fight against terrorism and other acts of violence.
Metuh said, “Their claims are mischievous; they are lacking in merit, they have no evidence and they defy logic . I must say that it is the PDP-led government that is considering the issue of Amnesty raised by Northern leaders,” Metuh said.