Two weeks to the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office, the federal government has accused the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the February 23 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, of doing everything possible to sabotage the incumbent administration.
Buhari will be sworn in for the last statutory term of four years on May 29, 2019, which formerly represent Nigeria’s Democracy Day until the president last year changed it to June 12 in honour of the undeclared winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential poll. The government stated that PDP bare-face opposition had assumed a frightening dimension since the president was re-elected for the second term.
In an interaction with State House correspondents yesterday in Abuja, the minister of information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, accused the PDP of overheating the polity in its desperate attempts to make Nigeria ungovernable. Mohammed said that the federal government is disturbed by the increasingly “unpatriotic and desperate opposition politics” being played by the PDP and Atiku, warning that such dead-end ambition could be toxic for the nation’s democracy, if unchecked”.
The minister said that never in the history of politics in Nigeria has an opposition party and its presidential candidate exhibited the kind of desperate tactics being deployed by the PDP and its standard bearer, especially since President Buhari overwhelmingly defeated Atiku in the 2019 presidential election.
He said that “either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and its presidential candidate are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria seemingly ungovernable, especially through their public utterances and their poorly-thought-out press releases before and after the 2019 general elections. Unless they quickly retrace their steps, they may, sooner than later, overreach themselves.
“For those who may be quick to accuse the government of crying wolf, the pre-election statement credited to the former vice president, that tunless Nigerians vote out the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, killings by herdsmen will continue and ultimately spark a series of ethno-religious crises that will be irreversible, is looking more like a Freudian slip than anything else. “Also, in recent times, the PDP has taken its desperation to a new low by attacking the judiciary, an action many see as indicating a reversal of the party’s hitherto self-assured stance that it has a solid case against the election of the president.
“And either by coincidence or orchestration, a faceless group emerges from nowhere calling for an overthrow of a democratically-elected government, a totally egregious act of treason,” the minister lamented. Mohammed wondered why a candidate who prides himself as a democrat would so allow desperation to becloud his sense of propriety to the extent that he would be associating with anti-democratic forces or making inflammatory statements.
He said that for acclaimed democrats, there are acceptable channels of seeking redress after an election defeat, adding that even President Buhari went to court three times to challenge previous election results. According to him, “what is not acceptable is to either resort to self-help after an election defeat, or to embark on a journey of subterfuge and sabotage while also mounting a legal challenge or pretending to do so. Worst still, painting the judiciary bad for whatever reason is anti-democratic and unconscionable.
“We want to urge the main opposition party to stop beating the drums of war, concentrate on the legal challenge by its candidate against the election of President Buhari if indeed they have any faith in the country’s judiciary, and desist from unnecessarily overheating the polity,” he stated. Your Allegations Frivolous, PDP Replies FG In a swift reaction, the PDP charged the government to stop inventing excuses and “making frivolous allegations of treason for its mass failures.”
The party said that the expectation of Nigerians is for the Buhari presidency to live up to the demands of their offices instead of blaming it for their self-inflicted woes. The PDP said that the minister’s tone betrays the frustration of a failed administration seeking excuses and scapegoats, instead of accepting its failures and self-inflicted woes.
Through its national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said that it is incontrovertible that as a highly responsible political party committed to the unity and stability of the country, nurtured its democracy for 16 years and has continued to express its full respect for every arm of government including the judiciary. Ologbondiyan said: “It is equally indisputable that the APC within four years has wreaked our democratic structures, relegated and harassed judicial officers, disregarded our laws and judicial pronouncements, divided our people and practically brought our nation to its knees only for it to now turn to look for scapegoats where there are none.
“It is instructive to state that in the course of serving our dear nation for 16 years, the PDP was never known for intimidating and harassing judicial officers at any level. It is, therefore, unfortunate that the minister of Information and Culture could suddenly recourse to making irresponsible allegations against the PDP and our presidential candidate instead of accepting their failures.
“As a party, we consider it awkward for the APC and its government, under whose only four years tenure, our judiciary has been thoroughly embarrassed, to make frivolous allegations against our party and presidential candidate. “It is manifestly clear that the PDP and our presidential candidate are in court to seek justice and the issues of bias raised by our party are in the public domain and in the general interest of the majority of Nigerians who gave their presidential mandate to Atiku Abubakar.
“The fact remains that the APC and its failed government owe it as a responsibility to be accountable to Nigerians; the PDP has a constitutional role to play in this accountability process and our party will not shy away from it,” he said.