A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has described President Muhammadu Buhari declaration that death awaits anyone who snatched ballot boxes during the February 23 presidential and national asssembly elections as a call for violence.
Buhari, had early on Monday, while speaking at a national caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja, said ballot box snatchers would pay with their lives as security agencies had been given the go ahead to be ruthless with them.
Speaking to newsmen in Warri, Delta state, Onuesoke said as president of the country, giving orders to a trigger-happy security operatives to shoot electoral offenders at sight could be very catastrophic and should be described as a call for war.
The PDP chieftain argued that such order could lead to serial extra-judicial killings of innocent Nigerians hence overzealous security agents could take laws into their hands by shooting anyone they have issues with and then arrange for ballot boxes to justify their actions.
“What people should understand is that everybody is a potential ballot box snatcher in the hands of biased trigger happy soldiers and policemen. They would be all too willing to kill anyone, who stands in the way of any opposing rigging done by the party they support. People are behaving as if our military and police force are neutral, assume that at your peril,” he stated.
“I don’t support ballot snatching. I only condemn death punishment Buhari used for offenders, that is very despicable and callous.
He said Buhari’s directive to the military was “clearly unconstitutional.”
“The President’s comment is clearly unconstitutional. Section 33(1) of the constitution guarantees the right to life. So, life can only be terminated in accordance with due process of law,” he stated.
Onuesoke, who said Buhari should have been the last person to make such a dangerous pronouncement, advised the president to apologise to Nigerians.
According to him, “I don’t support ballot box snatching. I only condemn death punishment Buhari used for offenders, that is very despicable and callous.
“No patriotic Nigerian will support ballot box snatching, ballot stuffing, however, what a leader is expected to do in this kind of situation is to warn the generality of Nigerians and possibly by saying that security agencies will deal appropriately with anybody found disorganizing the electoral process.
“But this utterance of shooting at sight will give the impression to the outside world that we have no president but a military junta.”