2019 polls: PDP has confirmed that their govs have deserted them — Keyamo

Mr Festus Keyamo, SAN, is the spokesperson for the Buhari Campaign Organisation. In this interview with Dapo Akinrefon, Keyamo says presidential campaign of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has completely collapsed because the governors of the party have deserted it. He also addresses the allegations against President Buhari’s resolve to conduct free and fair elections in 2019.The PDP has accused the Presidency of witch-hunting and blackmailing its governors to get them to throw their weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 elections. How true is this?

Did they tell you what we are using to blackmail them? Blackmail means that you have something against somebody and you are using that as a tool to make the person do your bidding. Are they confirming that their governors are corrupt? They are doing more damage to themselves than good by making such allegation. If they are saying so, they are confirming that their governors are corrupt. A very clean hand will fear no accusation; you cannot blackmail somebody who has not done anything. You see, you can only blackmail somebody who has done something.

I am not saying I am confirming or not confirming what they are saying, I am only saying that by making such allegation, they are destroying their party and shooting themselves in the foot.

It appears that they are throwing in the towel already before the election. By making such allegation, they are telling the world that their governors have deserted them.

They are confirming that they no longer enjoy the support of their governors because governors are the pillars of a party and governors are supposed to be the most loyal pillars of the party. If they are telling the world now, whether the reasons are genuine or not, that they no longer enjoy the support of their governors, I think the honourable thing they should is to throw in the towel before the February 2019 elections.

We have extreme desperation on the part of the PDP. They are jittery, they are threatened, they are panicky and they are running from pillar to post. It appears to us that their campaign has completely collapsed and it is unfortunate that we do not want to run a one-sided campaign.

As it is now, we have seen that this campaign is one-sided in the sense that Nigerians are mocking the PDP and are no longer taking them serious. They have made things too easy for President Buhari to go into this campaign because we are just preaching performance and Nigerians are buying the message.

Another allegation the PDP has raised is the President’s decision to extend the tenure of the Inspector General of Police. They alleged that it is an attempt to rig the elections. How do you react to that?

If you remember in 2015, immediately after the elections, the PDP sacked then IGP. This is a party that has no other way to win elections than to use security agencies. So, when they are no longer in power as they are now, they think that other people will behave like them.

The tendency, over the years, was to rely heavily on the police and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

So, it is not strange if the PDP had sacked its own IGP, how much more an IGP that was not appointed by them. That is their problem. They think others will behave the way they behaved when they were in power. The President has complete discretion on the appointment of the heads of security agencies. They should wait till whenever Nigerians decide to elect them into power to decide which IGP they should approve or not but, certainly, not in 2019.

The President has given his word to conduct credible and transparent elections in 2019 but the PDP is still sceptical about this. What assurance will your party give to Nigerians that the elections will be credible, free, transparent and acceptable in 2019?

Since the President took over in 2015, there have been no proven allegations of snatching or stuffing of ballot boxes. The new languages in town now, and not exclusive to the APC, are vote-buying and intimidation of voters.

While we will not accept that vote-buying and intimidation of voters are the best for elections, we have reached a far more credible level than the days when they used to sit down in a room and write results.

Now, votes actually count. You will agree with me that when you talk of vote-buying, you can never buy 100 percent of votes. You can influence some here and there but we don’t know the actually percentage of votes that are bought but, as it is today, we have made tremendous progress. And you can be sure that as time goes on, we will keep making progress.

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