The All Progressives Congress Director of Publicity, Bala Ibrahim, tells ADEBAYO FOLORUNSHO-FRANCIS his thoughts on Labour Party’s claim that the APC was preparing for a rerun and the LP’s loss in the election
Is it true that the APC is preparing for presidential rerun as possible fallout of the tribunal, as alleged by the Labour Party?
I really don’t get it. It looks like LP is still in labour while forgetting that the maternity is already close. How can you have a rerun in an election you have won and have been declared a winner? What election are they talking about? Is it the 2027 election? Of course, there can’t be a rerun in any election where a winner has been announced, inaugurated and its government is being formed. LP should better wake up.
Do you think it is wishful thinking as the erstwhile National Secretary of the APC, Senator Iyiola Omisore, described it?
This is beyond wishful thinking; it is a stupid thinking. I can’t even comprehend what they are talking about. It simply means the party is into protracted labour that may result in unwanted fever. An election has been conducted and a winner declared. The government is in the making and congratulations have come in from all over the world. What are they thinking by mentioning rerun? You can only think about rerun come 2027. That is if at all, there will be one. This is an election that has been won free and fair.
What if the Labour Party had intel?
What intel? Don’t forget that these same people were acting on a permutation that a rerun would hold in the run-up to the presidential election. All along, they have been busy on social media saying they would win. Not only did they lose, they came distant third, not even second. For God’s sake, let’s move on from this issue. These people are just political players on social media, not in reality.
What did you make of the call for INEC chairman’s removal by the Director-General of Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Akin Osuntokun?
What do you expect? As far as the Labour Party is concerned, what happened was not an election but a sham because they lost. In a contest, you have to know that there are two outcomes; you either win or lose. If you say you will only accept the result if you win, you are not a good sportsman. Certainly in every election, there has to be a loser and a winner. In this particular election, LP is the loser, but because INEC has declared them the loser, they are calling INEC all sorts of names. Before the election, they signed a peace agreement organised by the same electoral umpire. They recognised INEC and agreed with the terms given by the commission because they thought they would win. Having lost, they are now reneging on the things they agreed on. The call for Prof Mahmood Yakubu’s dismissal is simply the outburst of a loser, and that is how bad losers behave all over the world.
But the LP gave reasons for its position.
In my area, there is an adage that says it is not he who kills an antelope but the one who hangs it that bears the brunt more. It was clear that Labour Party lost the election. Instead of directing their anger to Nigerians that rejected them, they are passing the anger to the umpire that acted fairly. The rejection did not come from INEC. It only conducted and announced the result of the election. This Labour Party is not ready for democracy. Let them go back to the drawing board and strategise with a view to meeting the APC come 2027 where we are going to beat them again hands down. Their call for the sacking of the INEC chairman is uncalled for. Simply because you played a football match and lost, will you say definitely the referee must be dismissed? You just have to go back and plan, then come back and play again. If there is anybody you are not happy with, it should be the Nigerians that voted. Go back to them and say you want Nigeria to be given another name.
What about your party’s reaction to the European Union report and insinuations that it was a ploy to intimidate observers?
We are not aware of any unrest or random demonstrations sponsored by the APC. How can you build, renovate, furnish and paint a house and still be thinking of destruction? If there is anybody that wants peace, it has to be you because you want to enjoy the house. There is no way you will win elections, you are consolidating and working towards establishing your government, putting in place all that are needed for development and prosperity and at the same time, you are being accused of sponsoring confusion in the same place you want to enjoy. It doesn’t tally with common sense.
At what stage could the electoral umpire have called for a rerun?
That should be at the collation stage; at the point when results are coming in and being computed. For any candidate to be declared winner, they must score above a certain threshold. When that is not attained due to circumstances that are not connected with rigging, the umpire can call for a rerun in order for everyone to be given a fair chance.
In an election rerun, are alliances and horse-trading allowed without restriction?
Of course, you have to get into an alliance to get the majority. Alliance is allowed. The few that are on the lower part of the ladder will become the beautiful bride that will be sought after by those heading for the rerun.