48 hours after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alerted the National Peace Committee and others to save Nigeria from imminent collapse by immediately calling President Muhammadu Buhari to order, if there must be peaceful, free, fair and credible general elections in February, the Presidency has fired a counter accusation.
Tuesday, the Presidency called on the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led Committee to act on what it described as a violation by the opposition PDP of the peace accord signed by presidential candidates in December.
In a statement, presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, accused the PDP presidential campaign organisation of bad faith, character assassination and inflammatory utterances.
Shehu noted that the open and unsubstantiated allegations against the President’s family by the Atiku Abubakar media campaign contravenes the spirit of the peace accord that was signed at the instance of former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar , Bishop Mathew Kukah and other eminent public figures who constitute the committee.
“Dragging the President’s family into the campaign and accusing them of wrongdoing without producing unassailable evidence, amounts to an act of bad faith and malice,” he said.
“Instead of concentrating their efforts on persuading Nigerians on why they should be trusted to rule again after 16 years of failure, the PDP presidential campaign organisation is seeking to divert public attention from the large scale corruption and havoc it wreaked on the country during its 16 years of misrule.”
He added that, more than one week after accusing President Buhari’s family of corruption and wrong doing, the PDP presidential campaign still cannot provide proof of the allegations against them, despite being encouraged by the Presidency and the public to do so.
“Instead, they are ridiculously expecting the accused to prove their own allegations instead of it being the other way round,” the presidential spokesman said.
Accusing the PDP presidential campaign of being indolent and poor in research , Shehu noted that it was irresponsible to go public with allegations that they could not prove, describing that as something other than politics. “It is sheer desperation and a clear sign of disarray in the PDP campaign,” he said.
At a press conference last Sunday, a spokesman the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) and the opposition party, Mr. Kola Ologbondinyan, said President Buhari’s desperation for self-succession has become the major threat to national unity, stability and peaceful electoral process.
The PDP said further: “Having realized that Nigerians are rallying behind our candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as their next President, the Buhari Presidency is now seeking ways to enmesh the electoral process in crisis.
“The Buhari Presidency has been overheating the polity with its unending manipulations of INEC, muzzling of free speech and escalated clampdown on opposition and Civil Society Organizations and we insist that such must stop if we must have a peaceful election.
“The PPCO insists that there is no way peace can be guaranteed without a free and fair election. Already, Nigerians across the board are livid with anger over the foisting of Mrs. Amina Zakari, President Buhari’s relation, to head the collation of Presidential election results.
“President Buhari’s insistence on having his relation in charge of collation of Presidential election results is completely provocative, a direct affront to the sensibilities of Nigerians and express invitation to crisis of epic proportion, which is capable of truncating the entire electoral process and derailing our hard-earned democracy.
“The world is aware that majority of Nigerians have rejected Mrs. Amina Zakari. Over 90 percent of the political parties in the election, as well as major political and socio-cultural groups across the country have also called for her resignation from INEC, yet President Buhari is insisting on her stay in the commission….
“We want the National Peace Committee and the entire world to know that as long as Amina Zakari is in INEC, a peaceful election is not guaranteed because she has the mandate to abuse the process and this will not be accepted by Nigerians.
“The PPCO therefore calls on the National Peace Committee to immediately speak out on the impropriety of having Amina Zakari in INEC as well as insist on her removal so that we can have a credible and peaceful Presidential election.”