2019: Coalition for Nigeria Uncovers Atiku, Russia Rigging Partnership

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As the presidential elections edge closer, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) desperation for power is becoming even more glaring.

It is this utter desperation that triggered the PDP and its candidate Atiku Abubakar into hiring Russian hackers to compromise the polls.

With the reported alliance gaining grounds last week, the Coalition for Nigeria (CN) has echoed that it is no mere idle talk neither is it some sort of conspiracy theory.

The group made this known in a press statement on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to Mr Dipo Samuel, its Secretary General, Mr Atiku has already released funds to facilitate his secret mission.

“When the then PDP aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, hired the United States firm and lobbyist, Brian Ballard to work for his emergence, we expressed concerns as to why the same man that helped US President Donald Trump to engage Russians in meddling with US elections has been brought into Nigeria. It is now glaring that Brain Ballard is not here to consult and deliver transparent strategy. Ballard was engaged purely to secure the services of Russian hackers to meddle in the electoral process, hack INEC, rig the elections in favour of the PDP and ply citizens with dangerous propaganda.

“As part of Ballard’s strategies being implemented, we further gathered that certain internal changes have been made at INEC to strategically position certain officials in posts that will enable them compromise that organization’s cyber security. These officials are known to be PDP sympathizers. Their brief is to make sure that the security upgrades that will ward off attempts to hack the Commission’s servers are not implemented. The plan is for them to feign administrative lapses and inefficiency that will ensure such patches are not addressed.

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“We understand that Ballard’s contract is for a period of one year when the elections were a mere months away at the time he was engaged. The reason is that he is meant to stay on to coordinate a hate campaign against the government after the PDP has lost the election. This is really worrisome because such damaging campaign played a critical role in depressing Nigeria’s economy by discouraging investors’ interest in Nigeria. The PDP is again geared to repeat the same attack on the viability of the country.

“Coalition for Nigeria is therefore drawing the world’s attention to the rat infested firewood that the PDP with its Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has brought home by way of commissioning Russian agents to collapse democracy in Nigeria. We believe the whole world should be worried and seriously so:

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“When the possibility of Russia’s meddling in the US Elections was first raised it was dismissed as mere suspicion by many while others placed such allegation in the realm of fiction. The picture is clearer today and there has been conclusive proofs that Russia did meddle in the process to make Donald Trump win to emerge president. What is still unfolding is the extent of damage done to the US electoral and political process as the fallouts from the interference still reverberate in that country. It has produced outcomes that are directly threatening confidence in the process while questions are seriously being asked about how to get out of the bind the incident has plunged the country into.

CAN, however, urged INEC to take some measures.

“ INEC must immediately take steps to guarantee the integrity of its servers and protect them from intrusions and cyber-attacks. The electoral body must also vet afresh all those that occupy sensitive positions and senior officials with decision making capacity. Once it has done the needful, INEC must then brief Nigerians to reassure citizens that it will not allow Russia repeat the stunt it pulled in the United States here in Nigeria.

“The federal government must immediately step up diplomatic efforts to get assurances from Russia that it will not, as a nation, interfere in the conduct of Nigeria’s elections while also warning its nationals against taking briefs that could jeopardize relations with Nigeria. Government must also work with other countries to put the pressure on Russia.

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“The Nigerian Immigration Service in conjunction with the Department of State Service (DSS) should intensify the screening of aliens arriving the country to ensure that free passage is not given to potential hackers to come and do damage here. The screening should take into account aliens that might have already set up in the country before this discovery was made and those from countries that are proxies from Russia.

“The PDP should call off its brief to sabotage the elections and apologise to Nigerians. Where the party continues to work on rigging the elections, INEC should wake up to its responsibility and invoke the necessary clauses in the Electoral Act and INEC Act.

“ We urge Nigerians to unite across party lines and condemn this evil plot. They should tell PDP and Atiku in clear terms that they have crossed the line in the matter of hiring foreigners to destroy Nigeria. It beats logic that a party can be desperate enough about winning elections that it is prepared to govern a graveyard nation. “

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