The Social Democratic Party, on Monday knocked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for failing in his promise of ensuring a free and fair election in Nigeria.
The party said that the President must ensure a level-playing ground for parties during the Ekiti State governorship election.
The SDP also came hard on Buhari over his boast that the All Progressive Congress will win the forthcoming governorship election in Ekiti State, warning that it might affect the overall credibility of the entire electoral process.
The party’s National Chairman, Shehu Gaban, stated these in Abuja during the inauguration of the party’s National Convention Organising Committee ahead of its presidential primary election scheduled for June 8.
Other members of the committee included Dr. Olu Agunloye (Secretary); Ibrahim Modibo (Deputy Chairman); Dr. Umar Ardo, Nseobong Akpabio, Emmanuel Ojukwu, Saadatu Abdullahi, Maggie Batubo, Alkali Mohammed and Gift Wada.
Gaban said the committee headed by a former governor of Ekiti state and its governorship candidate, Chief Segun Oni, would organise a convention where delegates would elect its presidential candidate.
While responding to questions from journalists, he said the President has failed in his promise of leaving Nigerians with a legacy of free and fair elections.
He said, “I’m confident that what the President said is a distraction to the APC and not the SDP; the SDP will win Ekiti State. Buhari has no right to intervene in other states and who becomes the governor. The citizens of that state will determine who becomes the governor of the state.
“This same Buhari has said more than ten times that he wants to leave a legacy of free and fair elections; so far that legacy has not been displayed anywhere even within the APC. The crisis in the APC is because there’s a lack of transparency.
“For the President to make that remark, maybe it’s simply because we will not allow his party to rig in Ekiti State. So far, they are not close to where we are in Ekiti State.”
Gaban added that they have written to relevant authorities including Buhari to ensure a free and fair election in Ekiti State.
“We have written letters to Embassies in Nigeria, INEC, and the President and Commander in Chief that anything short of a transparent process will not be acceptable. And Ekiti will be a litmus test for this same President who talked about a legacy of free and fair elections.
“We have written a letter to him that he must ensure that there’s a free and fair election in Ekiti state. Because it is not about him; he doesn’t own Nigeria.
Gabam said the SDP was guided by integrity, sagacity, and acumen in the choice of members of the committee, adding that the forthcoming convention would out-perform previous one.
Oni, in his acceptance remarks, said for Nigerians to have confidence in the democratic process, the political parties must practice internal democracy
He said the people of Ekiti are aware that the two major political parties are one and the same, adding that the SDP had been chosen as an alternative to them.
Oni said, “I am very confident that we will justify the expectation of the national working committee putting us together. We want to say that this country is ripe for things like this. We have seen democracy still tottering after so many years because the internal part of it, the core of it, we have not gotten it right yet.
“Yes, we can all shout democracy! democracy but in the real sense of it, how many parties practice democracy internally and this is where we are starting.
“We believe that the democracy that is taking to the marketplace must be groomed and consumed by us first before we take it out there and this is why this exercise is very important.
“It must be transparent and it must be flawless and we must give confidence to everybody, both members and non-members that this is indeed a new Nigeria,” Oni said.