Former Vice President: Substantiate your claim
Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The federal government on Saturday claimed there was credible proof that the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, were planning to subvert the power of the state, attack the economy, and unleash mayhem on the polity.
In a swift reaction, former Vice President challenged Information Minister, Lai Mohammed to come up with evidence if he has any, to back his claim that he (Atiku) and the PDP were planning to overthrow the government of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The government said the security agencies must be alive to their responsibilities to stop any plan to reverse the gains of the country’s democracy.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the allegation at his Oro country home in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State during the 12th annual Ramadan lecture.
Mohammed said, “Our interventions are based on credible evidence, and no government with the kind of evidence that we have, of plans to subvert the power of the state, attack the nation’s economic life wire, and generally unleash mayhem on the polity, will keep quiet.
“The security agencies are all alert to their responsibilities and will not sit by and allow anyone to reverse the gains of our democracy under any guise.”
He added, “Since our intervention, pseudo and partisan analysts have teamed up with the spokesmen for the main opposition party and its presidential candidate to either exhibit their ignorance or to engage in red herring and name calling…
“We are neither distracted nor dissuaded.”
Mohammed also disclosed, “As you are aware, a few days ago we raised the alarm that 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.
“Of course, you are aware of similar alarms that have been raised by the police, the military and the DSS.”
The minister called on Nigerians, across religious and ethnic divides, to pray for peace and unity of the country.
He said, “I make this request against the background of those who are daily plotting to exploit our national fault lines of religion and ethnicity, those who masquerade as democrats but can’t take electoral defeat, those who will not hesitate to collude with anti-democratic forces and dead-enders to fan the embers of violence in the country, and those who have elevated their personal ambition over and above our survival as a nation.”
Mohammed, nevertheless, thanked Nigerians for their support and prayers for the Buhari administration, and urged them not to relent, especially in the run up to the May 29 inauguration of Mr. President.
Earlier, the lecturer, the Chief Imam of Olorunsigo Central Mosque, Ilorin, Alhaji Mohammed Saliu Olorire, urged Muslims to love one another. Olorire called on the incoming administration in the state to be alive to their promises so as to better the lot of the people.
He lauded the Minister of Information and Culture for his doggedness at ensuring the electoral victory of APC in the state.
Media Adviser to the former Vice President, Mr. Paul Ibe said Nigerians must learn not to take the Information Minister serious anymore. In his words, “the man has run out of smart arguments and what he does these days is to make allegations he cannot substantiate.”
He called on Lai Mohammed to feel free to present his evidence before the relevant security agencies or keep his peace and allow Atiku to pursue his case at the election petition tribunal to a logical conclusion.
Also reacting to the claims, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan chided the minister for what he called an attempt to play to the gallery while dodging “issues pertaining to poor governance and maladministration, his party is famous for.” According to the publicity scribe, “Nigerians are tired of a man who keeps running away from the real issues at hand. If Lai has evidence to substantiate what he has been saying, he knows what to do.”
Continuing, Ologbondiyan added that “The federal government has no answers to the numerous challenges facing the nation. Nigerians are daily dying of hardship and all their spokesman can say today is to look for people and party to scapegoat for their failure. “The PDP is determined to retrieve its stolen mandate at the tribunal and no amount of lies can distract us from realizing this objective.”