Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned in strong terms the continued the unabated killings across the country, including killings carried out by cattle herdsmen, and charged President Muhammadu Buhari to rise to the demand of his office by taking decisive action to end the senseless killings.
The party wrote off the setting up a presidential committee on the carnage, describing it as a â€œpretentious approachâ€ to dealing with a matter that required specific and urgent intervention of Mr. President.
Rising from a five-and-half hour joint meeting of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) and the PDP Governors Forum at the Government House Asaba, the party said Â it deliberated on several burning national issues and expressed concern that President Buhari seemed to be fixated on pursuing narrow sectional interest at the expense of the welfare and protection of the lives and property of all Nigerian citizens without discrimination.
The communique said: â€œWe believe that the federal governmentâ€™s decision to set up a committee to address the issues of herdsmen killings is a pretentious approach to a matter that requires firm action and leadership by the President in line with his oath of office to protect all Nigerians irrespective of creed, tribe or political affiliation.â€
A communique at the end of the meeting, which lasted from 8p.m. on Sunday to about 1:35a.m. yesterday was read to newsmen at the EXCO Chambers of Government House Asaba by the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who co-signed the document with the Chairman of PDP Governorsâ€™ Forum, Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State.
On the issue of fuel subsidy regime in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry in the country, the party decried â€œthe massive corruption going on in the management of fuel subsidy regime which the federal government had earlier declared as non-existent while billions of naira are deducted monthly at Federation Accounts Committee (FAAC) meetings.â€
Similarly, it said: â€œThe PDP NWC and PDP Governors Forum further noted that â€œPDP states and local governments are vehemently opposed to the unilateral withdrawal of $1billion from the Excess Crude Account by the federal government under any guise. Neither the governorsâ€™ forum nor the Federal Executive Council has the power of appropriation of Federation Accounts, as such powers reside with the National and State Assemblies.â€
On perceived excesses of the countryâ€™s anti-corruption agency, the communique said: â€œWe urge Mr. President to henceforth, direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to adhere to the rule of law by obeying Court judgments and orders such as the one involving Ekiti State government against EFCC and restrain itself from further political intimidation and harassment of known or perceived political opponents.â€
It however commended â€œthe judiciary for their commitment to the enthronement of constitutional democracy in the face of intimidation and harassment.â€
Nevertheless, the party assured all presidential aspirants of a level playing field, saying, â€œthe party organs will not align with any presidential aspirantâ€ towards the 2019 election in the country.
The communique, which encouraged all Nigerians interested in contesting any elective position in 2019 to feel free to do so on the platform of the PDP, said it has directed PDP members in the National Assembly to commence the process of initiating a bill on restructuring in Nigeria, which it said was the brainchild of the PDP.
According to the party, â€œThe PDP has been the author of restructuring and this was further expressed in the report of the 2014 National Conference; the APC as a later day convert of restructuring is merely paying lip service to a matter of national importance, however, we mandated our members in the National Assembly to immediately commence the process of initiating a bill to address issues bordering on restructuring.â€
However, THISDAY learnt that the PDP is still keeping close to the chest some of the serious issues bothering on the partyâ€™s plans and strategies for realising PDP ambition of taking power again at the centre, which engaged the NWC and governors during the prolonged meeting, as they were still awaiting inputs from crucial stakeholders particularly PDP members in the National Assembly.