…Accuses opposition of romancing with coup plotters
….Stop whining, face your self-inflicted woes, PDP replies
Mathew Dadiya & Tunde Opalana, Abuja
The Federal Government has raised the alarm that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) poses a great danger to the survival of the Nigerian democracy.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this on Wednesday while addressing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
He decried the increasingly unpatriotic and desperate opposition politics being played by the PDP and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, warning that such dead-end opposition could be toxic for the nation’s democracy, if left unchecked.
The information 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 duo of the PDP and its flag-bearer, especially since President Muhammadu Buhari overwhelmingly defeated Atiku to win the 2019 presidential election.
The Federal Government’s spokesman said the PDP and its presidential candidate are either by themselves or via their proxies, 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 election.
Unless they quickly retrace their steps, they may, sooner than later, overreach themselves, the Federal Government warned.
For those who may be quick to accuse the government of crying wolf, the minister said the pre-election statement credited to the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, that “unless Nigerians vote out the 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.”
Mohammed recalled that 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.
He stated: “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.
“It beggars belief that a candidate who prides himself as a democrat can so allow desperation to becloud his sense of propriety to such an extent that he will be associating with anti-democratic forces or making inflammatory statements.
“For acclaimed democrats, there are acceptable channels of seeking redress after an election defeat. Even President Buhari himself went to court three times to challenge election results.
“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.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the winner of the February 23, 2019 Presidential elections with a total vote of 15,191,847 to defeat the PDP’s candidate Atiku Abubakar who garnered 11,262,978 votes.
Since the outcome of the elections both the ruling and the opposition parties have been at loggerheads as the PDP alleged that the election was rigged boosting that it would reclaim its mandate in court.
However, while reacting to the minister’s accusations, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) advised the Federal Government to stop whining, but face the multi- faceted challenges facing the Buhari administration.
The PDP said Alhaji Lai Mohammed once again, veered off issues of governance and dwelt on hauling insults, misplaced accusations and threats against the party and its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The party in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the minister’s tone, to say the least, betrays the frustration of a failed administration seeking excuses and scapegoats, instead of accepting its failures and self-inflicted woes.
He said: “It is incontrovertible that the PDP, as a highly responsible political party, committed to the unity and stability of our dear nation, nurtured our democracy for 16 years and has continued to express its full respect for every arm of government including the judiciary.
“It is equally undisputable that the All Progressives Congress (APC), within a period of four years, has wrecked 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 them 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 sixteen years, the PDP was never known for intimidating and harassing judicial officers at any level”.
The party said it is unfortunate that the Minister of Information and Culture could suddenly recourse to making irresponsible allegations against the PDP and its Presidential candidate instead of accepting their failures.
“As a party, we consider it awkward for the APC and its government, under whose only four- year 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 public domain and in the general interest of 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”, said Ologbondiyan.
The PDP therefore charged the Federal Government to stop inventing excuses and making frivolous allegations of treason for its mass failures.
It said the expectation of Nigerians is for the Buhari Presidency to live up to the demands of their offices instead of blaming our party for their self-inflicted woes.