The All Progressives Congress (APC) has renewed its call for a thorough probe of the Ekiti rigging tape that was recently released by an army captain who recorded the audio tape, saying it is wrong for anyone to label the tape a fake without a forensic investigation.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the issues exposed by the tape are too grievous to be swept under the carpet or dismissed on the basis of nothing but gross partisanship.
It said the investigation is particularly necessary because of the alleged role the military played in the whole rigging scenario, and against the background of the court rulings against the deployment of troops for elections.
"If the government officials and politicians whose voices were heard on the tape are not interested in clearing their name, what of the military institution that was dragged into the show of shame? Has the integrity of the military not been compromised by the alleged role of a General and hundreds of his troops in the rigging saga?" APC queried.
The party said the inconsistency of the federal government's response to the whole saga has exposed its underbelly and made it more urgent for a forensic investigation of the tape to be carried out.
"First, those whose voices were heard on the tape rushed to deny there was any such meeting. Later, after they were confronted with a preponderance of evidence, they started owning up one by one, starting with Police Affairs Minister Jelili Adesiyan, then Minister of State for Defence Musiliu Obanikoro and then Ekiti Governor Ayodele Fayose, even though they all denied the meeting was about rigging. Of course Nigerians know better.
"But these men, on the basis of their initial denial, are no longer credible as far as the rigging tape is concerned, hence it is necessary to have an independent investigation of the whole issue," it said.
APC also said that while President Goodluck Jonathan had rushed to dismiss the authenticity of the tape, telling the Wall Street Journal 'It's all fabrications', his campaign spokesman Femi Fani-Kayode said the exact opposite: 'We have listened to the audio clip and we make bold to say that the discussion that took place in it did not make any mention of any form of rigging in the Ekiti state governorship election and neither did it contain any evidence of any conspiracy to rig.'
"Can anyone listen to a non-existent audio tape? This confusion in the government circles is the clearest indication yet that they were so panicked by the revelation that they could not fashion out a coherent response to it, hence the discordant notes by the major culprits and their oga at the top!
"We sympathize with them, but we are more worried about the effect this revelation will have on a respectable national institutional like the military, which was dragged into the rigging mess. This is why even the military itself must carry out its own investigation.
"If an Army General could be so bullied into submission by political partisans, to the point where he said he will cry, what will they not do to any other military officer or men? Does this whole rigging saga not call into question the role of the military in elections?" the party further queried.
It vowed not to allow the issue to be swept under the carpet in the interest of the nation, and commended the media and indeed all Nigerians for sustaining the discourse on the rigging tape.