*Opposition party working with faceless groups to subvert government
*Allegations frivolous, empty, PDP says
*Only the guilty are afraid – Atiku
By Chesa Chesa and Myke Uzendu
The Federal Government yesterday accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, of hobnobbing with faceless groups with the intention to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and scuttle Nigeria’s democracy.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, speaking at the State House Abuja, said the PDP and Atiku were desperate for power that they “are doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari Administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria ungovernable”.
But the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbodinyan dismissed the insinuations and asked the federal government to face the task of its misgovernance and stop seeking scapegoats.
Expressing concerns at how the PDP and Atiku’s latest utterances were coinciding with groups calling for the overthrow of Buhari, the Minister declared that such “dead-end oppostion” politics could be toxic for the nation’s democracy, if left unchecked.
Mohammed urged the PDP and Atiku to stop attacking the judiciary and beating drums of war, and face the lehal challenge they mounted against Buhari’s victory in the last presodential election.
The minister said: “The Federal Government has strongly 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.
“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.
“Either by themselves or via their proxies, the PDP and its presidential candidate are 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
“Unless they quickly retrace their steps, they may, sooner than later, overreach themselves.
“For those who may be quick to accuse the government of crying wolf, the pre-election statement credited to the former Vice President, 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.
“Also, 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.
“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.”
*Face your self-inflicted woes, PDP replies FG
Reacting, PDP said Lai Mohammed veered off issues of governance and dwelt on hauling insults, misplaced accusations and threats against the party and Atiku Abubakar.
In a statement by Ologbodinyan, the opposition party said “the minister’s tone, betrays the frustration of a failed administration seeking excuses and scapegoats, instead of accepting its failures and self-inflicted woes”.
Continuing, PDP said “it is incontrovertible that the PDP is 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.
“It is therefore unfortunate that the Minister of Information and Culture could suddenly recourse to making irresponsible allegations against the PDP and our Presidential candidate instead of accepting their failures.
“As a party we consider it awkward for the APC and its government, under whose only four years 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”.
PDP maintains that APC and its government owe it as a responsibility to be accountable to Nigerian, pointing out that the PDP has a constitutional role to play in this accountability process which it will not shy away from.
*Only the guilty are afraid: Atiku replies Lai Mohammed
Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar said that he has been in a long battle of defending democracy and cannot descend into destroying an institution he spent his life to built.
According to the Waziri Adamawa in a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe on Wednesday, he said that it was not surprising that such a despicable lies could emanate from Lai Mohammed, adding that the minister has a penchant for presenting half truths.
“Mr Lai Mohammed is only being clever by half when he says “It is 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.”
The statement described Atiku as a man of peace and a thoroughbred democrat saying that it is preposterous that those who threatened to ‘soak the dog and the baboon in blood’, have the audacity to point finger at a lifelong democrat.
According to him, “If anybody is “beating the drums of war”, it is precisely those who have issued statements threatening Nigerians and foreigners alike with “body bags”.
Atiku advised the Minister to face the cesspool of corruption that has been exposed in his ministry by the investigative website, Premium Times, which revealed that Mohammed’s fingers may be stickier than sticky glue.