By AZA MSUE, Chibuzo Ukaibe
Less than 24 hours after the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, cautioned foreign election observers against interfering in the forthcoming general elections, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some Nigerians are unsettled with the governor’s comment. While featuring on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) late night programme: Tuesday Live, el-Rufai had warned foreign countries to steer clear of the internal affairs of Nigeria. Among other things, el-Rufai had said: “Those that are calling for everyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that will come and intervene. They will go back in body bags, because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country. “We’ve got that independence and we are trying to run our country as decently as possible and we know the history of those countries that are trying to teach us these things; we have read their history. We also know that in their stages of development they went through these challenges.” Reacting to the governor’s comment, the PDP said yesterday that it might be forced to review its signatory to the national peace accord over el-Rufai’s threat.
At a press conference in Abuja yesterday, PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, who issued the “pullout” warning, called on the international community to immediately impose a travel ban on el-Rufai for the comment which the party said, was against peaceful elections in Nigeria. According to the PDP, the “comments, threats and incendiary actions by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari Presidency have been directly inimical to a peaceful, free and fair election. “The PDP is left with no option than to consider a review of its signatory in the national peace accord, if no action is immediately taken to curb this trend.
“Nigerians are still in a shock over comments by the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who declared on a national television that members of the global democratic institutions that are working for a peaceful election in Nigeria will return to their countries in body bags. What a threat? “We call on the international community to immediately impose a travel ban on el-Rufai for this inciting comment against peaceful elections in our country,” the PDP said. In the TV programme held on Tuesday, el-Rufai had stated: “They (foreign nations’ comments) were based on non-information and they are most irresponsible and I am happy that the presidency responded to them. “As Nigerians, we must understand that these guys can sit pretty in their country and say things but when the crisis breaks we are here. We are the victims, our wives and children are the victims; and we must rise up and unite and say that no to violence in this country.” el-Rufai condemned the petitions sent by the PDP to the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union (EU), Germany and France, calling on the foreign countries to prevail upon President Muhmmadu Buhari not to derail the nation’s democracy.