The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is plotting to frame-up its candidate in the February 23 Presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, because the ruling party’s defence is collapsing at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday strongly condemned Atiku Abubakar for making public statements on issues, which constitutionally should be reserved for the duly elected head of government or his designees.
But the opposition party insists on Wednesday that Atiku comments on national issues have been patriotic and within his constitutional right of freedom of speech, not only as a citizen of this Federal Republic, but also a former Vice President, as well as a leader and Presidential candidate of the PDP, the party that commands the followership and solidarity of overwhelming majority of Nigerians.
Said APC on Tuesday: “As a Party, we would have thought that Alh. Atiku who in the past occupied such high office as the country’s vice president would clearly understand the workings of government, particularly as it bothers on national security, foreign policy and our international engagement. We have noted Alh. Atiku’s incessant habits of releasing statements on public issues as if he were an alternative President of this country and with a clear intention to undermine President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC-led government.
“In recent times, Alh. Atiku has demonstrated lack of regard for the sovereignty of the office of the President and Nigerian government through condescending statements. He has made several of such statements regarding the activities of the Nigerian military, issues of national security, and international relations.
“The latest of such statements is the one he made on the emergence of Mr. Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of Britain even when our duly elected President, who has the responsibility of making an official statement on such matter, has made the position of our country known. We note with serious concern that Alh. Atiku has been throwing himself around as a shadow President of Nigeria. We would like to state clearly that such position could only be found under the parliamentary system; it does not exist under the Presidential system of government that we practice in Nigeria.
“Alh. Atiku, like every Nigerian citizen, should understand that being a candidate for an elective office, including that of the President, does not confer on him a sovereign status. Alh. Atiku’s continuous portrayal of himself as a shadow President under our system borders on felony and makes him a patent impostor.
“There can only be one democratically elected and legitimate government at a time in this country. That clearly is the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is important to remind Alh. Atiku that issues of national security, foreign policy and international engagements are not matters to be exploited to achieve mischievous political ends.
“We reiterate that Alh. Atiku has lost the 2019 presidential election and it would be unhelpful to him to continue to make a mockery of our country. We expect Alh. Atiku to quickly address himself to the stark reality of his loss and move on. Our laws are clear on all acts of criminalities, in this case, a clear case of felony. Nigerians expect that the enforcement of relevant laws should apply to every Nigerian, irrespective of class and status. This government would not be found wanting where it is required to take decisive actions”.
But the PDP maintains that, as a responsible political party, none of the statements made by our presidential candidate falls within the realm of felony in anyway whatsoever.
It adds: “However, intelligence available to the PDP largely posits that the threats against Atiku Abubakar emanated from certain persons around the Buhari Presidency who are jittery that President Muhammadu Buhari’s defence is collapsing at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, for which they have become desperate to use underhand methods to stop Atiku Abubakar.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that the renewed allegations against Atiku Abubakar came after a witness told the court, as has been publicly reported, that the Army never required any enlisted officer to submit his WAEC certificate, in total contradiction to claims that Mr. President’s certificates were in the custody of the Army.
“Our party counsels the APC to rather get ready for justice instead of seeking ways to frame Atiku Abubakar on flimsy and unconstitutional grounds.
“Moreover, the APC is reminded that while the PDP was in power, it never gagged the APC and its leaders, including President Buhari, from exercising their freedom of speech and freedom after speech, in line with our laws.
“We note that General Muhammadu Buhari issued over 160 statements while he was in the opposition, including inflammatory remarks like the one that called on his supporters to take their fate in their own hands. It is instructive to note that none of the PDP administrations threatened General Buhari over such comments.
“Furthermore, it is quite disturbing that the APC is attacking Atiku Abubakar for commending British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, for appointing 39 years old Nigerian, Kemi Badenoch, as a minister in his cabinet.
“Contrary to President Buhari’s projection to the world that Nigerian youths are lazy and should not be given active role in governance in our country, other nations are finding accommodation for our youths. Atiku Abubakar cannot but commend such world leaders, no matter whose ox is gored.
“It is also instructive to note that the APC has further shown its disdain for the Nigerian youth as being demonstrated by President Buhari, whose cabinet has no place for our youths.
“Instead of attacking Atiku Abubakar for standing for our energetic and focused young men and women, the expectation of Nigerians is that APC will accept its failures and advise President Buhari against total disregard for young Nigerians.
“Furthermore, the PDP notes the reference by APC to President Buhari as a “sitting” President. Our party, however, states that what Nigeria needs at a time like this is a working President, not a President that sits down while our country becomes the world headquarters of poverty; not a President that relaxes in an arm-chair while insecurity festers and our economy continues to nosedive to the extent that Ghana has overtaken our nation as the number one recipient for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in West Africa.
“This is why the PDP stands with Nigerians in their determination to retrieve Atiku Abubakar’s stolen mandate at the tribunal and no amount of threats by the APC can detract from this resolve”.