The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to restrict itself to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and other extant electoral laws and guidelines in handling the failure of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to forward to the commission names of its governorship and national assembly candidates for the 2019 general elections.
The party said it was aware of a meeting of the INEC leadership with the Presidency over the failure of APC to meet INEC’s October 7 deadline for conclusion of party primaries and emergence of candidates.
The national publicity secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday said INEC should maintain its stand on the closure of opportunity for the APC to field candidates because Nigerians are watching and the party would not tolerate backing down by INEC to any pressure from the Presidency.
The commission had in a statement by Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to INEC chairman yesterday that the APC has failed to produce governorship candidate in Zamfara State.
“Our position has not changed, you remembered after our national convention we alerted the nation that closing date for primary and Congresses was October 7th and as that day the Zamfara state chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has not held a singular congress to elect candidate into various position that will be contested in 2019 general election.
“We warn INEC because we are aware of under arm measures and moves by the leadership of the APC who summoned the INEC chairman and the governor of Zamfara state to meeting. We raised the alarm and raised the because we are democratic party, and we have respect for the 1999 constitution as amended. And all the the electoral law guiding our elections.
“As such we warn that INEC must not allowed itself to be subdued by the All Progressives Congress. For once they must not allow any form of collusion with the APC. Because since Zamfara state APC did not meet the October 7 deadline, then it means that they have no candidate for 2019 general elections.
“Our party is aware that INEC has notified the APC that it has no candidate in 2019 election. Our appeal to INEC Is that it must not allowed itself to be subdued by the APC and its leadership, whether in the government or in the party. To do that, it will be a recipe for anarchy in Zamfara state”, said Ologbondiyan
The party also slammed the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Lai Mohammed as well as other officials of the Buhari Presidency over comments deliberately made to impugn on the character of its Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The party said since the successful conduct of its Presidential primary and the popular emergence of Atiku Abubakar, the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have become intimidated; gone into panic mode and ignobly resorted to trading on rumour and spurious allegations, having failed in their evil machination to scuttle PDP primary ab initio.
“The PDP is aware of how the unnerved and intimidated Buhari Presidency has unleashed its officials, spin doctors and hack writers with billions of naira, siphoned from our national treasury, to fabricate lies, spurious allegations and smear campaign against our Presidential candidate.
“While it is understandable that President Muhammadu Buhari is discomfited and afraid to face a popular candidate in any elections due to his incompetence, for which Nigerians earnestly seek his replacement, engaging in smear campaign, as a means of survival, is completely reprehensible and cowardly.
“President Buhari and the APC, in their desperation, should not attempt to confuse personal economic prosperity that comes from hardwork, as in the case of Atiku Abubakar, with corrupt enrichment. That President Buhari failed in leading a successful personal economic life does not mean that others cannot succeed without being corrupt.
The PDP said unlike President Buhari, “who has failed in managing both private and public enterprises; who also confessed his failure to successfully manage his own farm and has made no personal contribution to our national development, our Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, is internationally known as a hard working, resourceful, versatile and successful private entrepreneur, a vast employer of labour; an ingenious citizen, who has made immeasurable contribution to our national development both in public and private lives”.
Rather, the party asked the minister to react to series of corruption allegation against the Buhari government. “We charge him to speak up on the leaked memo detailing the stealing of N9 trillion ($25billion dollars) through underhand oil contract at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum, under President Buhari’s direct supervision.
“Lai Mohammed should speak up on the alleged siphoning of N1.4 trillion through sleazy oil subsidy regimes and those benefitting from the alleged N58 hidden tax per liter which Nigerians have continued to bear since the fuel price increase from N87 to presumably unsubsidized cost of N145.
“Lai Mohammed should speak up on why the Buhari Presidency is suppressing investigation into alleged use of 18 unregistered companies to lift and divert N1.1 trillion worth of crude oil in 2017 and the President’s alleged link with the beneficiaries of this fraud.
“Can Lai Mohammed tell Nigerians how the Buhari era allegedly presided over the stealing of over N18 billion from the funds approved for rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and rebuilding of six northeast states ravaged by insurgency?
“Can Lai Mohammed tell Nigerians how over N25 billion meant for health needs of Nigerians was stolen by the Presidency cabal from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and how the same cabal siphoned the $322 million repatriated by Switzerland, under the guise of sharing the funds to the poor?”, he said.
The party said it is only in an administration like the Buhari Presidency that thrives in lies and deception that characters like Lai Mohammed, with his lying proclivities, can be minister, while it counseled the Buhari Presidency and the APC to shed their resort to lies, falsehood and smear campaign and get prepared to face an inevitable crushing defeat, come 2019.