*Challenges Buhari, APC
*Says denial is last kick off dying horse
Tunde Opalana, AbujaThe Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO) has vowed that no forces including President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) can stop it from holding a mega rally for its candidate, Atiku Abubakar in Abuja before Saturday election. This followed the denial by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) access to use the Old Parade Ground for the mega rally campaign of Atiku Abubakar last Saturday. The party accused the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled Federal Government of influencing the denial of Atiku Abubakar the use of the already approved venue for his scheduled Presidential campaign mega rally. It consequently described the move by the APC as part of the last kicks of a dying horse, which the Buhari Presidency represents. The party also considered it as part of the plot by “the frustrated President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to drag the PDP and the people’s candidate to their low level of frustration in order to enmesh the coming election into crisis so as to achieve their self-succession bid”. Subsequent to a press conference addressed on Saturday by the party spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP called global attention to this latest assault against Atiku saying it was borne out of direct ill-will and hatred against him by President Muhammadu Buhari as well as his handlers, who have sought all ways to drag him down, since they realized that Nigerians have reached a consensus on Atiku Abubakar, as the next President of the country. The party indicated that the Old Parade Ground is a public property to which every Nigerian irrespective of political or religious affiliation must have access upon satisfactorily fulfilling all requirements for its usage. Ologbodiyan who is the Director, Media & Publicity of PPCO said the PDP paid a sum of One Millionbaura (N1,000,000) into a Zenith Bank account of the FCTA on 6th January, 2019 upon which a receipt was issued. He said it came as a surprise when the management of the FCTA wanted to refund the money paid on the pretext that the venue would no longer be available for the said rally on the ‘order from above’. “It is wrong for anybody to deny us the use of the venue. If government insisted, the PDP will hold its rally in Abuja and nothing will happen. Nobody can stop us from holding the rally. We will hold the rally and the whole world will hear us. “In any case, let it be known to President Buhari and the APC that the PDP and the people’s candidate will definitely hold our Presidential mega rally in Abuja irrespective of any further encumbrance they may attempt to foist. Nigeria belongs to all of us and nobody can stop us from exercising our constitutionally guaranteed right of holding our rally in the FCT or any other part of our country for that matter”, he said . He, however, said the party will not be violent in claiming its right to assemble. “If PDP had been a violent party, we would have headed straight for the Old Parade Ground last Saturday”, he said while he expressed optimism that the Abuja rally will surely hold before Presidential poll on Saturday. Speaking further, he said “the PDP is a party of peace and it has demonstrated that. In 2015, our candidate lost the presidential election. He did not only accept defeat but went ahead to congratulate the winner which, the incumbent President Buhari”. The party accused Buhari and the APC of political Intolerance. He argued that both the President and his party were accorded respect in PDP controlled State during the ongoing nationwide campaign without molestation or denial. He cautioned President Buhari and the APC to note that with the level of consensus Atiku Abubakar enjoys throughout our country and even across the world, any assault on him is a direct assault on the overall aspiration and sensibilities of Nigerians as a whole. “We therefore need to restate that the more the Buhari Presidency attacks the people’s candidate, the more his support base among Nigerians expands. “However, any further attack on our campaign will therefore attract very dire response from Nigerians who look up to Atiku Abubakar to salvage our dear nation from the social, economic and political despondency, which President Buhari has plunged her into”, he said. The party insinuated that it might not also be out of place for the Buhari Presidency and the APC to use this measure to test the will of Nigerians as precursor to their rigging plots. “We want to place on record, once again that any attempt to rig the February 16 election will be vehemently resisted by Nigerians, across board, who have reached a consensus to rescue their nation from the stranglehold of the Buhari Presidency”, the PDP warned .