Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday engaged in a verbal war over the ruling party’s claim that Atiku is planning to purchase PDP ticket for 2023 and that the main opposition party is pushing Nigeria into a one-party state by forcing its members to join the ruling party.
In a statement yesterday, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Yekini Nabena, said because the PDP is in crisis, it was not surprising that its members were defecting to the APC.
He accused Atiku of planning to purchase the PDP ticket in 2023, alleging that he has already commenced the 2023 campaign by holding meetings in Dubai.
But while Atiku has denied the allegation, the main opposition party fired back at the ruling party that “only unpatriotic, expired and lily-livered individuals can seek to join a party like the APC that is synonymous with failure, nepotism, treasury looting, mindless stealing, corruption, falsehood, lies, capacity crisis, confusion, crass incompetence and which finds pleasure in foisting hardship and poverty on Nigerians.”
The PDP also accused APC leaders of planning to change the name of the ruling party because of what they viewed as the abysmal performance of President Muhammadu Buhari.
But the APC said it would be unfair to expect progressive-minded members of PDP to remain in the opposition party, which has failed woefully as the supposed ‘main’ opposition party in Nigeria.
It said it was disheartening that the PDP is pushing Nigeria into a largely one-party state, adding as a party that believes in democracy and progressive politics, the APC does not subscribe to a one-party state.
APC challenged other opposition political parties to take the place of the PDP because even as the governing party, it does recognise the importance of rigorous and intelligent interrogation of its policies and programmes by the opposition, which the PDP has woefully failed to do.
APC said: “It is not surprising that progressive-minded members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been defecting en masse from the opposition party to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in recent times.
“For a party unable to run its secretariat, pay staff salaries and its leadership grappling with a crisis of confidence, it will be unfair to expect its progressive-minded members to remain in the PDP, which has failed woefully as the supposed ‘main’ opposition party in Nigeria.”
APC explained that it welcomes new and returning entrants who have come to work with the Buhari APC-led administration to improve the lives of Nigerians and better the country.
However, the PDP fired back, saying that the prophecy of Chief Tony Momoh that the APC and its leaders would be stoned for failure has come to pass as Nigerians are already stoning them with words.
It urged APC leaders to drop the idea of changing the name of the party in a bid to exonerate themselves from the failures of their party and the Buhari administration.
In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP said: “Our party is already aware of clandestine meetings being held by APC leaders following their realisation that the APC, as a political party, has failed as a platform for governance and managing of the broad diversity of our nation.
“The APC leaders, who are already troubled by the post-President Buhari’s disastrous tenure in office, are planning to adopt a new name in order to beguile Nigerians once again”.
The PDP said the efforts by APC leadership to deceive Nigerians again with showboating and false claims that opposition members are trooping into their party, will not save the APC from crashing.
It added that only those who have lost relevance with the people, having betrayed their causes, that would seek accommodation in APC.
It stated: “Which patriotic Nigerian can join the APC that has wilfully failed to secure our citizens from marauders, insurgents and bandits; a party under whose watch, the once happy and prosperous Nigerian citizens can no longer afford basic necessities of life to the extent that they now resort to suicide and slavery mission abroad as options?”
The PDP described the APC as a party irredeemably balkanised, overweighed with the burden of failure and can no longer be a platform for any credible Nigerian with the intention to serve the people.
Atiku also debunked the allegation by the APC that he has initiated discussions on how to purchase the party’s presidential election in 2023.
He said neither the PDP nor himself has initiated discussions with anyone on a 2023 presidential run.
According to him, it is the APC thst has busied itself talking about zoning and focusing on rigging the next election.
Atiku, in a statement from his media aide, Mr. Paul Ibe, said the attacks on him has validated the assumption that the major reason the condition of living has been deplorable under the Buhari administration is on account of the fact that the party focuses more on playing petty politics than in governing.
Atiku said it is preposterous that a political party, which has spent the past five-and-half-years impoverishing Nigerians finds no time to address and apologise to Nigerians for the false promises of change that it made to the people.