The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to disqualify President Muhammadu Buhari from the February 16 presidential election.
The National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, made the call on Friday evening while speaking at the presidential campaign rally of his party in Enugu, South-East Nigeria.
“What we witnessed in Kano yesterday at the APC rally. President Buhari brought in mercenaries – two governors from Niger Republic – with arms, with money, with people to come and vote to influence our election in Nigeria,” Mr Secondus said.
“I hereby … as PDP chairman, call on INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu, to disqualify President Buhari for bringing mercenaries from abroad to influence our election.”
It remains unclear how INEC will respond to the call by the PDP. The INEC Commissioner in charge of publicity, Festus Okoye, could not be reached for comments Friday evening.
Two governors from neighbouring Niger Republic had visited Kano Thursday to campaign for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Issa Moussa of Zinder Region and Zakiri Umar of Maradi had visited Kano to campaign for Mr Buhari’s reelection. They dressed in ‘babanriga,’ a traditional attire, designed with APC campaign ornaments.
Salihu Tanko-Yakasai, a spokesperson for Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano, shared pictures his principal took with the two foreign governors as they prepared to receive Mr Buhari in Kano earlier on Thursday.
No sooner had Mr Tanko-Yakasai shared the pictures on Twitter than a flurry of critical comments began to trickle in, with many reactions pointing to peoples befuddlement.
The development comes barely days after both the presidency and the APC issued separate statements attacking Western diplomatic missions for expressing outrage over Mr Buhari’s suspension of Mr Onnoghen, an action widely deemed unconstitutional.
Mr Buhari himself did not say he followed the guidelines enumerated in the Constitution for the removal of a chief justice but said he acted on an order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, an auxiliary judicial panel under the presidency.
“This is clearly shocking and absurd,” Chris Ngwodo, a foreign affairs expert, told PREMIUM TIMES of the visit of the two Niger governors to Nigeria to campaign for Mr Buhari. “It is simply difficult to process and come to terms with this.”
Both Zinder and Maradi have proximity to northern parts of Nigeria from the south of Niger Republic.
While the Niger governors’ visit to Nigeria for a political rally may appear strange, the Nigerian electoral law does not seem to have placed restrictions on foreigners hitting the campaign trail with candidates.
“The electoral law is only more pronounced about limits of campaign contributions from foreign elements,” according to Clement Nwankwo, a pro-democracy and electoral reform campaigner.