A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nuhu Ribadu, says the presence of governors from the Niger Republic at the party’s presidential campaign in Kano State does not violate the laws of the land.
Ribadu, who is the Director of Field Operations for the APC Campaign Council, noted that Nigeria operates a free movement policy.
He told reporters on Friday in Abuja that no one should be deprived the right to free movement within the country.
“This is a free country; it is the constitutional right of everybody to be where he wants to be,” the APC chieftain said, adding, “You have no right to contain anybody from doing what he wants to do.”
He stated further, “People from West Africa are free to move into Nigeria. We have a protocol; we have an agreement that you don’t need a visa to come to Nigeria if you are from West Africa.”
Ribadu insisted that the governors from the Niger Republic were only supporting President Muhammadu Buhari because they believed in him.
He stressed that although their presence would have no effect on the presidential election, they have not committed any crime by attending the President’s re-election campaign.
“For sure, I know they (the Nigeriens) don’t have to vote. They are not going to vote on that day,” the APC chieftain said.
He added, “But for you as a free human being, as a free West African, as a free African, believing in somebody who has done extremely well; to decide to come and identify yourself with what you believe in, I don’t think there is any crime committed.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemned the action of the APC and accused the ruling party of renting a crowd of strangers for the rally.
The opposition party also accused President Buhari and the APC of compromising the nation’s territorial integrity, noting that its action indicated grave danger to national security and the sanctity of the electoral process.
Ribadu, on his part, insisted that it was wrong for anybody or group to interfere with the affairs of the President and that of the ruling party, especially when they acted with their constitutional right.
He said, “You have no right as a person, as a Nigerian, to interfere with his (Buhari) fundamental right to be where he wants to be, to identify with his friends.”