- Rakes in N653m from sales of Kogi, Bayelsa guber forms
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Wednesday cautioned against any attempt to frame its presidential candidate in the February 23 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar by the federal government.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party stated this yesterday in reaction to the statement by the All Progressives Congress (APC) ‘warning’ Atiku against making comments on the state of the country and that his comments to pressing national issues amount to a felony.
This is coming as the main opposition party has raked in over N653 million from the sales of nomination and expression of interest forms to governorship aspirants from Bayelsa and Kogi states.
The PDP in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said that Atiku’s comments on national issues have been patriotic and within his constitutional right of freedom of speech, not only as a citizen of the Federal Republic, but also a former vice president, as well as a leader and presidential candidate of the PDP.
The party added that it commands the followership and solidarity of overwhelming majority of Nigerians.
“As a responsible political party, we boldly state that none of the statements made by our presidential candidate falls within the realm of felony in anyway whatsoever.
“However, intelligence available to the PDP largely posits that the threats against Atiku Abubakar emanated from certain persons around the Buhari’s presidency who are jittery that President Muhammadu Buhari’s defence is collapsing at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, for which they have become desperate to use underhand methods to stop Atiku Abubakar.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that the renewed allegations against Atiku Abubakar came after a witness told the court, as has been publicly reported, that the army never required any enlisted officer to submit his WAEC certificate, in total contradiction to claims that Mr. president’s certificates were in the custody of the army.
“Our party counsels the APC to rather get ready for justice instead of seeking ways to frame Atiku Abubakar on flimsy and unconstitutional grounds.
“Moreover, the APC is reminded that while the PDP was in power, it never gagged the APC and its leaders, including President Buhari, from exercising their freedom of speech and freedom after speech, in line with our laws.
“We note that General Muhammadu Buhari issued over 160 statements while he was in the opposition, including inflammatory remarks like the one that called on his supporters to take their fate in their own hands. It is instructive to note that none of the PDP administrations threatened General Buhari over such comments” PDP said. .
The main opposition party further said that it was quite disturbing that the APC was attacking Atiku Abubakar for commending British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, for appointing 39-year-old Nigerian, Kemi Badenoch, as a minister in his cabinet.
According to PDP, “contrary to President Buhari’s projection to the world that Nigerian youths are lazy and should not be given active role in governance in our country, other nations are finding accommodation for our youths. Atiku Abubakar cannot but commend such world leaders, no matter whose ox is gored”.
“It is also instructive to note that the APC has further shown its disdain for the Nigerian youth as being demonstrated by President Buhari, whose cabinet has no place for our youths.
“Instead of attacking Atiku Abubakar for standing for our energetic and focused young men and women, the expectation of Nigerians is that APC will accept its failures and advise President Buhari against total disregard for young Nigerians”.
Furthermore, the PDP noted the reference by APC to President Buhari as a “sitting” President, saying, “our party, however, states that what Nigeria needs at a time like this is a working president, not a president that sits down while our country becomes the world headquarters of poverty; not a president that relaxes in an arm-chair while insecurity festers and our economy continues to nosedive to the extent that Ghana has overtaken our nation as the number one recipient for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in West Africa,” PDP explained.
Meanwhile, with the close of submission of completed governorship forms by 33 aspirants for the gubernatorial election in Bayelsa and Kogi states slated for November 16 this year, PDP has earned over N653 million.
According to details obtained by THISDAY from the office of the National Organising Secretary of the party, 20 male governorship aspirants from Bayelsa State paid the mandatory N20 million for the governorship nomination forms and N1 million for the expression of interest form.
The only female aspirant, Olivia Tariela from Bayelsa State paid N1 million as female aspirants are exempted from paying the N20 million nomination forms.
In Kogi State, 12 male and one female aspirants collected and returned the completed governorship nomination forms.
Ologbondiyan told THISDAY that July 31 is the last day for the submission of completed nomination forms.
He also said that there would be no extension of date.
The primary elections in both states will take place on September 3.