* Restates APC, presidency plotting to remove Saraki, Ekweremadu by force
* Says Akpabio yet to resign
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Ahead of the 2019 general election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has fixed N12 million for the expression of interest and nomination forms for its presidential aspirants.
The party also accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of using blackmail to undermine the conduct of 2019 general election, saying they are apparently afraid of losing the polls.
It further restated its claim that the presidency was bent on removing Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, by force.
According to the approved schedule for the sale of forms for the party’s primaries obtained Monday by THISDAY, expression of interest form for the presidency costs N2 million, while nomination form goes for N10 million.
Forms for gubernatorial election is to cost N6 million, while senatorial aspirants will spend N3.5 million.
In the same vein, the party said the forms for the House of Representatives and the state House of Assembly will go for N2.5 million and N600,000 respectively.
According to the INEC’s timetable for party primaries for the presidential, governorship, federal and state elections would begin on August 18 to end on October 7, 2018, while that of the FCT Area Council Elections will commence on September 4 to end on October 27, 2018.
PDP Restates APC, Presidency Plotting to Remove Saraki, Ekweremadu by Force
Also Monday, the PDP accused President Buhari and the APC of using blackmail to undermine the conduct of next year’s general election, saying they are apparently afraid of losing the 2019 elections.
The main opposition party challenged Buhari and his party to urgently respond to various allegations of corruption and underhand deals, including the alleged diversion of a whopping N9 trillion in crude “shady’’ deals.
The party also challenged Buhari to tell Nigerians why he has failed to deal with officials of his administration who have been fingered in corrupt acts.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said from every indication it had become clear that the APC and the president were only playing to the gallery and trying to blackmail the National Assembly over its failure to provide funds to enable INEC to organise the 2019 elections as scheduled.
Speaking on the issue of INEC’s supplementary budget, the PDP’s spokesman said the president was only out to blackmail the National Assembly and to merely subject the 2019 elections to unnecessary controversy.
PDP asked: “How can they predicate funds meant for election on the proposal for constituencies projects? How can the Buhari presidency seat back and declare that the money meant for 2019 general election would be based on an amendment of appropriation bill that is submitted?
“That is why I say that people like Senator Ita Enang, who has spent his life in the National Assembly, has the responsibility to advice the executives on what to do. They are just out to blackmail the National Assembly by saying they should come back from their recess.
“The president has gone on 10 days recess; can anybody force him back? The National Assembly has only gone for their annual recess and it is within their right to choose when to come back.”
On the claims by the APC that the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and PDP Minority Leader in the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has accepted to join its fold, Ologbondiyan said that the senator was yet to resign.
He said that PDP would be giving credence to the rumour mills of APC, adding that the party had not received notification from Akpabio regarding his defection.
“The PDP is not aware of the said defection of any of our member in Akwa Ibom State; because we have not been notified,” he said.
Speaking on the alleged move to forcefully reopen the Senate, especially the recent call by Senator Ita Enang for the senators to reconvene, Ologbondiyan said: “What Enang had done is just a mere wish. He does not have the power to order or call for the reopening of the Senate. He is just expressing his personal wishes.
“As a matter of fact, Senator Enang has been the Chairman Senate Rules and Business Committee, both in the House and in the Senate. Will he listen to anybody from outside the chamber to come and dictate to the presiding officers?
“We must not allow those who have no respect for laws to take charge of our lives because what they are plotting to do have a huge capacity to create anarchy for the nation.
“It is unfortunate that people who have experience in legislative practices and procedures, when they get to the executive arm, instead of telling the executives the limit of their powers they pretend to know it all, and by so doing they mislead the executives. That is exactly what Enang is doing.”
According to Ologbondiyan, “There are set rules; section 12 of the Senate Standing Rules puts the opening of the Senate within purview of responsibility of the President of the Senate and the operational word there is may; That is if the Senate President is convinced to reopen the Senate.”
While criticising the Buhari-led administration’s anti-corruption posturing, the PDP’s spokesman said the government has become complicit in encouraging acts of corruption and not taken adequate steps to deal with officials involved in corruption.
He alleged that the presidency and the APC are offering lawmakers from both chambers inducement of the sum of $1 million each with the aim of unseating Saraki and Ekweremadu.
“The PDP has been informed that one of the heads of the security agencies is the arrow head of the Buhari presidency’s agents charged to coordinate this heinous design, which has the unlimited capacity to throw our nation into anarchy and ultimately destroy our hard-earned democracy,’’ PDP alleged, adding: “If President Buhari and his presidency are not corrupt; if the APC is not a party of corruption, the PDP challenges them to address Nigerians on their complicit in the exposed acts of humongous corruption thriving in the high places under their watch.’’