President Muhammadu Buhari has said repeatedly that he is a reformed democrat but comments he made today at a meeting of his party’s national caucus showed a man still stuck in his old ways. The president said he has asked law enforcement agencies to “deal ruthlessly” with anyone who attempts to snatch a ballot box during the rescheduled general elections. The extent of the ruthlessness, according to the president, would be such that it could come at the expense of their own lives.
“I really gave the military and the police (order) to be ruthless. We are not going to be blamed that we want to rig election. I want Nigerians to be respected. Let them vote whoever they want across the parties,” Buhari said. “I am going to warn anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs or to disturb the voting system, he will do it at the expense of his own life.”
“Anybody who decides to snatch ballot boxes or lead thugs to disturb it, maybe this is the last unlawful action you will take,” he said to warm applause.
Still very angry with INEC: President Buhari said he intends to investigate and unravel the circumstances that led to the postponement of the elections. “I told them that INEC had all the time and all the resources they wanted; they didn’t have to wait for only six hours to cancel the votes and tell us that it was impossible. We have to go into details to find out exactly what happened and who is responsible after the elections,” he said.
“Definitely, the reasons why certain incompetence manifested itself has to be explained to the nation. After the election, we have to know exactly what happened, and who is responsible; otherwise our efforts to make sure that this system that we voluntarily accept, is not making progress. What is the use if we accept incompetence?” he said.
Bottom Line: Has the president ever heard of the rule of law? Does he know it applies to ballot snatchers as well?