•APC grounding Nigeria, opposition party replies
Omololu Ogunmade and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The presidency on Monday in Abuja criticised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for its rejection of the outcome of last weekend by-elections in Kogi and Katsina States, accusing the PDP of behaving like a militant organisation.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, made this accusation in the State House, while answering questions from journalists on prevalent cases of vote buying at Saturday’s National Assembly by-elections in the two states and pointed out that vote buying was an offence in the country, hence the PDP should rather follow due process in expressing its grievances.
Shehu, who also said every Nigerian had the responsibility to report cases of vote buying to relevant law enforcement agencies, added that resorting to militant behaviour by the PDP in registering its disagreement with the output of the poll was not the right attitude expected from a leading opposition party.
He said, “One is to say that bribery of voters or vote buying is an offence in this country. I think that citizens who have evidence regarding this, have a duty to report to the law enforcement agencies. This is the way to help the country.
“Secondly, I think that it is not the right attitude for a political party, a so-called opposition leader to conduct their affairs like a militant organisation. A political party cannot be run like a militant organisation. If you have disagreement on the outcome of an election, they know the process and they know it because they abused it before.
“You can see this is the clear difference from the kind of democracy the APC administration is trying to put in place from what they are used to. Willie Obiano of Anambra, same afternoon (he was declared winner), President Buhari said ‘congratulations and well done.’ We were happy we came second in the election.
“That is the way it is. We lost a Senate seat in Osun. We didn’t try to bring down the roof, and on this that has happened in Cross River, did you hear Adams Oshiomhole saying he wants to shoot people? I think this is the difference we need.”
The presidential spokesman also said the victories of the APC at three of the four by-elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the weekend were attestations to Nigerians’ continuous confidence in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He described the victories of the APC at the polls as epic, thanking Nigerians for their continuous beliefs in the government of Buhari.
According to him, with the increasing confidence in the administration, both Buhari and acting President Yemi Osinbajo are determined more than ever before to deliver to Nigerians the change they promised them.
Furthermore, he said the victories showed that Buhari still maintained his momentum in the polity, adding that they also showed that the APC would approach the 2019 general election with sheer confidence.
Shehu also described the victories as clear statements that Nigerians no longer have time for politics of insult, mudslinging and subterfuge being played by the PDP.
He also said Nigerians, by the gale of victories, were also stating that they were not cut out for the game being played by members of the National Assembly but were rather interested in the task of governance as he appealed to members of the federal legislature to have a rethink and approve presidential requests particularly on the 2018 budget.
“I like to speak to you about the fabulous shows of the APC in Katsina, Bauchi and Kogi, and even to some extent in Cross River States. All of these coming against the background of Ekiti State.
“It is clear that from election after election, Nigerians are reposing confidence in the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency. Each of these election victories is considered to be epic in nature because none of these elections was an ordinary election. We are happy that we have won and on behalf of the president and the acting president, we like to say thank you to Nigerians who continue to repose their confidence in the leadership of the APC administration.
“We also want to thank the leadership of the party at the national level, but equally important, to thank all the party’s apparatchiks deployed to all the campaigns and ensured that all the elections were won handsomely by APC.
“So, we are expressing our gratitude to everyone for these that had happened and to say that with this increasing confidence reposed in the president and the acting president, who are determined more than ever before to leave no stone unturned in order to bring the promised change to Nigerians.
“For a quick review, maybe one, two, three or four lessons can be taken from the victories that the party has been recording. First of all is to say that these decisive victories are indications that clearly, Nigerians have spoken that President Buhari maintains his momentum. That these victories place Buhari/Osinbajo presidency in very good stead for next year’s election.
“It is a statement of the fact that the APC will go into election next year with every confidence that the elections will be won and that Nigerians by this statement, will also say that they no longer have time for politics of insult and diversion, mudslinging and ‘monkey dey work, baboon dey chop’ politics of the PDP, and equally important is that these election victories are a clear message to the National Assembly that all that Nigerians are interested in is that the business of government should go on.
“That Nigerians are saying that they are not interested in the drama; they are not interested in the grammar, the subterfuge and all of the games that are being played in the National Assembly.
I think it is appropriate this time to appeal to the National Assembly to be on the same page with the President Muhammadu Buhari administration so that we can deliver on all of these things. They are urgent matters that need to be attended to including matters of shortfall in money supply for the execution of the budget,” he added.
APC Grounding Nigeria, Opposition Party Replies
In a swift response, the PDP described the APC as an unstable party whose administration had almost grounded the progress so far made in the country.
The PDP’s spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a text message to THISDAY said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration had been moving at a snail speed without delivering on its promises.
Kola said, “How can the presidency call PDP militant when they parade a factional national chairman that jumps, runs, and squats and speaks all at the same time. What can be more militant than that?
“The presidency has been moving at a snail speed in the last three years and by so doing regressed all the activities of our nation. We are not interested in their name calling as Nigerians have resolved to vote them out in 2019.”