Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wednesday criticised President Muhammadu Buhari over his New Year message to Nigerians and faulted his announcement not to contest election in future.
It called on him to withdraw what the main opposition party described as his unnecessary remark about “standing down” in 2023, saying he and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would have no other option than to exit office at the end of his tenure.
The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described Buhari’s New Year message as uninspiring, tasteless, repetitive and vacuous, saying it does not inspire any hope for a despairing nation like Nigeria .
The PDP said the president should have the courage to issue a fresh message to show remorse for the corruption, incompetence and misrule of his administration as well as admonish his party, the APC, against its crass insincerity, violence and divisive machinations that have brought anguish and despondency to the country.
“Indeed, President Buhari should stop presenting a picture as if he has the option to continue in office beyond 2023,” it added.
According to the party, by the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), it is not an issue of “standing down” or not being “available” for future election, as Buhari said, but a decided and inevitable position as contained in the constitution that he must quit office after two terms, which will end in 2023.
“Whether President Buhari likes it or not, he and his APC will exit the arena at the end of this tenure. History is replete with lessons from those who sought to stretch our nation beyond her limits”, PDP said.
It added that the president and APC ought to have known by now that Nigerians have moved ahead and cannot wait to see them go.
It said: “The citizens are no longer swayed by empty promises and false performance indices as replete in Mr. President’s New Year message.
“Our party restates that President Buhari should therefore end this showboating by issuing a fresh New Year message to demonstrate a commitment to electoral reforms by returning the Eighth Assembly Electoral Act amendment bill, which he refused to sign, to the National Assembly without any further delay.”
PDP said Buhari should also sign the bill into law when retooled to meet current exigencies and passed by the current National Assembly.
“President Buhari should also order the immediate prosecution of his party leaders who perpetrated violence in the 2019 general election as well as the governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun, Bayelsa and Kogi states where APC used thugs and compromised security agents to unleash mayhem and kill innocent compatriots who came out to perform their civic responsibility at the polls,” it added.
The main opposition party called on the president to apologise to Nigerians for the violation of human rights, attacks on institutions of democracy, disobedience to court orders and constitutional violations under his administration as well as order an immediate investigation and prosecution of all those who played roles in these ugly episodes.
It charged the president to use the opportunity of a fresh New Year message to apologise for his administration’s failure to secure the country and for plunging the country into a biting economic recession occasioned by the incompetence, corruption and unbridled treasury looting in his government.