There has been heavy military presence in the southeast of Nigeria dubbed as Operation Python Dance I, Python Dance II and now Python Dance III. The python dance began when the IPOB group Biafra’s leader Nnamdi Kanu was in his Abia State home. The Biafra issue has gone down but military presence in the zone has continued, despite the security challenges in Nigeria’s Northeast and the criminality by bandits in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria.
Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that Operation “Egwu Eke III” otherwise called Python Dance, is a ploy by president Muhammadu Buhari to use the military to intimidate voters and rig the 2019 general election.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said this in a statement on Saturday, saying Buhari planned to use the military, having realised that he cannot win in a free and fair poll.
He said his party (PDP) is opposed to the commencement of a nationwide military exercise, which the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, said on Friday would commence from January 1, 2019 and last till February 28.
The army chief had claimed that it is in preparation against security challenges anticipated before, during and after the 2019 general election.
But the PDP spokesperson said it is a plot by a desperate Buhari Presidency to foist a siege mentality on the nation ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Mr. Ologbondiyan said, “Our investigation shows that part of the plot is to use the military operation as a subterfuge to unleash heavy security presence to intimidate, harass and instil fear in voters in PDP strongholds across the country and pave the way for the allocation of fictitious votes to President Buhari and the APC.
“Further investigation revealed that agents of the Buhari Presidency are working in cohort with some compromised top officials of the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission to use soldiers to provide cover for diversion of electoral materials, as well as aid APC agents in their plan to unleash violence and disrupt the electoral process in areas where the PDP is winning.
“In spanning the military operation to February 28, 2019, the Buhari Presidency betrayed its anticipation of public rejection or violence, which can only come when a result that does not reflect the actual wish of the people is announced.
“The PDP PCO, therefore, rejects this deliberate attempt by the Buhari Presidency to set our military on a collision course with Nigerians, bearing in mind the collateral damage that usually occurs whenever the civilian population clashes with military.
“Our nation is a democratic state and we are not in a state of emergency that requires the militarization of our electoral process.
“Our military, which is cherished by Nigerians, should, therefore, foreclose any attempt by the Buhari Presidency to use it to set our country on fire.”