Press Statement – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says no amount of blackmail and diversionary tactics by the All Progressives Congress (APC) would deter it from exposing the deliberate agenda, already in motion,
by the present administration to destroy the nation’s democracy and impose a dictatorship in the country.
The party said by resorting to insults, threats and personal attacks on its leaders, instead of responding to issues of emerging fascism raised by the PDP on Saturday, September 19, 2015, the APC and the Federal Government further confirm their intolerance, disdain for democracy and frenetic appetite for totalitarianism.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in a statement on Sunday said Nigerians await answers to issues and would not be hoodwinked by the antics of APC’s spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, whose cleverness in using insults, personal attacks and wild allegations to divert attention is well known.
“While we understand the nervousness of Alhaji Lai Mohammed to remain relevant, especially in the face of desperation for an appointment, this administration must come to terms with the fact that democracy requires accountability, adherence to the rule of law and constitutional order, and not the crass infractions, executive arrogance, intolerance and undermining of the legislature; the symbol of the sovereignty of the people that we now witness under the APC.
“The question is, has the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government not exhibited all the trappings of despotism, including ruling without a constitutional component of a cabinet, persistent abuse of power, corrupting of democratic institutions, quest to appropriate the National Assembly, in spite of the principle of separation of powers; invasion of state government and personal houses, injecting confusion into the judiciary and hounding of individuals perceived to be against its interests?
“What is APC’s position regarding the anti-democratic statement by the President, who, in an interview, during the recent visit to France, expressed his reluctance to appoint ministers, in addition to his disparaging allusion to cabinet ministers as noise makers? Does this not smack of totalitarianism?
“How else can one explain the relentless interferences in the activities of the National Assembly, a separate and independent arm of government, in addition to the bitterness with which the Presidency and the APC hold the duly elected leadership of the Senate, simply because it is not occupied by their preferred candidates?
“If not for a possible ulterior motive of appropriating the federal legislature as a means to undermine its statutory role of checks and balances and set the stage for dictatorship, what other reasons could there be for the current fixation on the leadership of the Senate by the APC and the Presidency?
“Nigerians are still waiting for APC, a party which prides itself as a progressive platform, to respond to the widely condemned invasion of Akwa-Ibom state government house by the Department of State Services (DSS), under the direct instructions from the Presidency. Is it not part of the plot activated for possible forceful takeover of PDP states and impose a one-party regime in Nigeria?
“What about the July reprehensible invasion and sealing of Rivers local councils by the federal controlled Police, who also barred members of caretaker committees that were duly appointed by the state government to take charge of the councils?
“In the same vein, how else can one explain the undue interferences of the DSS in the activities of election tribunals in PDP controlled states of Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Abia, Taraba and others where electoral officers are being harassed, intimidated and detained, ostensibly to influence judgments against the PDP?
“This is not to talk about the intolerance and arrogance witnessed in the venom with which the APC attack well-meaning Nigerians, including highly revered national leaders, for daring to counsel the Federal Government on some observed undemocratic tendencies under their ‘new Sheriff’, a development which has resulted in the setting in of an environment where citizens, irrespective of political affiliations, can no longer freely express their views.
“Is the PDP therefore not justified when we described as a mockery of reasoning, President Buhari’s use of choice words to condemn the coup in Burkina Faso whilst his government engages in brazen contravention of our own constitution?
“Whilst we note the failed efforts of the APC spokesman to divert attention, we invite the Presidency and the APC to be informed that their attempt to harass and/or intimidate us with plethora of well instigated, sponsored, immature and wild allegations can never deter us from remaining focused on issues.
“Nevertheless, as we restate our commitment in providing issue-based opposition as well as our support for the fight against corruption, our final word for the APC spokesman on this, is that being ethically challenged, includes embezzling funds meant for fencing of an airport in an APC-led South West state. It also includes fraudulently refusing to supply ambulances after collecting monies from another APC South West state.
“It is then a comedy of roles when Alhaji Lai Mohammed speaks on corruption, a topic he practices and has well learnt, being a personal aide to one of the most corrupt politicians to ever bestride the political landscape of the country.
Below is the controversial press statement issued by PDP on September 19, 2015:
‘Nigeria’s Democracy on Quick Slide’- PDP Insists….Says Nation Facing Defining Moments
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says with the unfolding of events; the deliberate infractions and crass abuse of power by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Federal Government, it is no longer in doubt that the nation is on a quick slide into fascism and official terrorism.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, on Saturday alerted that the President Buhari-led regime has exhibited trappings of despotism, including “ruling without a constitutional component of a cabinet, persistent abuse of power, undermining of democratic institutions, invasion of state government and personal houses, injecting confusion into the judiciary and hounding of individuals perceived to be against its interests”.
The party expressed worry over the “relentless onslaught against democratic institutions, especially the growing tension trailing the quest to annex the National Assembly; for which the Presidency had since vowed not to recognize the current Senate leadership, in total disdain to the independence of the legislature and the principle of separation of powers”.
It further described as a mockery of reasoning, for President Buhari to condemn the recent coup in Burkina Faso whilst his government continues to violate the provisions of the constitution of his own country.
“Ordinarily, the intra-party squabbles within the APC, regarding leadership positions in the Senate are not necessarily our concern. Also, we are not interested in whether Senate President Bukola Saraki ran for the APC Presidential ticket against President Muhammadu Buhari; or whether he ran for the Senate Presidency against the advice of the President and his party. Our concerns here are the prevailing executive intolerance, the undermining of the institution of the National Assembly and the overall threat to the survival of our democracy.
“Whereas the PDP totally supports the fight against corruption, while reposing confidence in the judiciary to protect and preserve its sanctity, we note with grave concern, the politically induced controversies within the judiciary, as a result of the part being played by agents of the executive, especially the question of due process with respect to the roles statutorily vested on the person of an Attorney-General, who is yet to be appointed, regarding proceedings in the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“We note this dangerous trend because the Presidency and the APC have not hidden their aversion to the election of Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively, even as the fact of various moves to oust them from office, including the recent unsubstantiated allegations of forgery and harassments by the federal controlled security agencies are in the public domain.
“We call on Nigerians to be aware that the fixation on the leadership of the National Assembly is part of a major step towards the appropriation of the federal legislature, so as to undermine its statutory role of checks and balances and set the stage for dictatorship in the land.
“Part of this script is to commence a major onslaught against federal lawmakers perceived to hold divergent views to those of the Presidency, irrespective of party affiliations, a situation that would ensure a subdued legislature.
“Also, similar machineries have been activated for possible forceful takeover of PDP states, a plot which played out in the recent act of terrorism against democracy, in the invasion of Akwa-Ibom state government house by the Department of State Services (DSS), under the direct instructions from the Presidency.
“We also recall July reprehensible invasion and sealing of Rivers local councils by the Police, who also barred members of caretaker committees that were duly appointed by the state government to take charge of the councils.
“The erosion of personal freedom of citizen also came to public glare in the invasion of the home of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, against constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and the rule of law.
“Furthermore, Nigerians are witness to the undue interferences of the Department of State Services in the activities of election tribunals in PDP controlled states of Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Abia, Taraba and others where electoral officers are being harassed, intimidated and detained, ostensibly to influence judgments against the PDP.
“We recall the show of intolerance in the venom and disparagement with which the APC-led administration in August, attacked our highly revered national leaders in the National Peace Committee, which has as members, former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, respected clerics; Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka, retired justices of superior records, as well as other highly respected patriotic Nigerians, for daring to counsel Buhari’s government on some observed undemocratic tendencies and processes.
“It is therefore a mockery of reasoning for President Buhari to use choice words to condemn the coup in Burkina Faso whilst his government engages in brazen contravention of our own constitution, a development that is clearly derailing Nigeria from the path of order, democracy and constitutionalism.
“It is hence only appropriate that the President is called upon to focus on restoring proper democracy in Nigeria and ends this drift towards dictatorship under the “new Sheriff’, an ominous undemocratic nomenclature introduced into our political space by the Presidency.
“We invite the international community and the civil society to note that our nation is facing a defining moment for the survival of democracy. Nigeria has come to a point where citizens, irrespective of political affiliations, can no longer freely express their views. We have fast descended from an environment of personal freedom and rule of law to an environment of muffled voices and suppression.
“Whereas we remain dedicated to our commitment in providing a robust and credible opposition, constructively offering alternatives to policies and programmes of the Federal Government, we restate in the strongest possible terms, that we shall not be cowed to abdicate our irrevocable resolution to defend our democracy, while resisting actions inimical to the stability and unity of our dear nation.
Chief Olisa Metuh
National Publicity Secretary