Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday exchanged hot words over the future of democracy in Nigeria with the former saying the latter appeared incapable of providing a viable opposition needed for democracy to thrive.
But the opposition called on security agencies to quiz the leaders of the ruling party, following emerging revelations that certain APC leaders were behind the gruesome killings and bloody violence that marred the November 16 governorship and senatorial elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a statement issued yesterday lamented that the PDP had shown crass and shocking incapacity to perform the role of a vibrant opposition, stressing that as a party that believed in democracy and progressive politics, it was worried.
Issa-Onilu added that the main opposition party had become disillusioned by the string of election victories recorded by the APC in 2019 elections, and other governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun, Kano, Kogi and Bayelsa States.
He stated: “In fact, Prince Uche Secondus, PDP’s National Chairman on Monday lamented that it would be difficult for the PDP to participate in future elections in the country.
“This is exactly our fear. Is this not a confirmation of APC’s earlier position that Nigeria was fast becoming a one-party state as a result of the rudderless and soulless PDP, Nigeria’s supposed main opposition party?”
The ruling party, therefore, called on other registered political parties to step up and perform the crucial opposition role the PDP has failed to play.
On election victories, Issa-Onilu noted that the PDP accused APC of conniving with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to record the string of election victories in the recent elections, but the APC said that it was not surprised by PDP’s outbursts, as it had become the PDP’s stock-in-trade and coping mechanisms following the PDP’s rejection in 2015.
The party spokesman stressed that the same PDP had maintained a graveyard silence over its losses in Zamfara and Rivers States.
Issa-Onilu noted that the APC was punished for allegedly not conducting proper primaries in Zamfara State, while PDP got rewarded in Sokoto and Kano for not conducting any primaries at all.
The APC wondered why in Osun, Ekiti and Bayelsa States, it would ever contemplate conniving with INEC in elections where voters had rejected the PDP and their candidates long before the election day.
In the case of Kogi State, Issa-Onilu challenged the PDP to name one of its politicians who had the status and goodwill to give PDP the imagined votes they are now claiming, adding that the Kogi electorate ignored the PDP’s propaganda and clannish campaigns to re-elect the APC candidate, Governor Yahaya Bello.
Issa-Onilu was of the opinion that the Kogi West Senatorial rerun gave the electorate an opportunity to reclaim their earlier stolen mandate. They were decisive in kicking out a joke and replacing him with APC Senator-elect, Smart Adeyemi.
On electoral reforms, the ruling party said the most important reform before the leadership of PDP is to change their ways, noting that the PDP should have realised by now that their old underhand political methods no longer work.
Issa-Onilu said that the PDP should adjust to the reality of an emerging political environment where manipulation, intimidation, and brigandage are becoming unhelpful to any political party.