PDP blasts Buhari; challenges him to public debate on governance
By HENRY UMORU
ABUJA—THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Sunday, took a swipe at former Head of State and the 2011 Presidential candidate of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, General Muhammadu Buhari, warning him to stop what it termed tissues of lies to gain political relevance.
The PDP which also challenged Buhari to a public debate on values of good governance, asked him to give the ruling party and Nigerians alternative ideas and plan of action to what the PDP has at present.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the former Head of State is ungrateful to Nigerians and Nigeria for allowing him enjoy freedom of expression against the backdrop that under his watch as the leader of this country, freedom of expression landed many Nigerians in detention because of his obnoxious decrees.
The PDP, however, urged the CPC Presidential candidate to exhibit statesmanship in his assessment of the contributions of the PDP-led Federal Government to the cause of democracy and good governance.
The PDP spokesperson noted that political differences notwithstanding, Nigerians expect from him, as an elder statesman and a former Head of State to acknowledge what he described as the significant progress that Nigeria has witnessed in internalizing democratic culture since the return of democracy in 1999.
According to Metuh, “There is still room for improvement no doubt, but Nigeria under the PDP has recorded tremendous gains in terms of advancing the rule of law and the fundamental rights of Nigerians, in deed, in other indices of good governance which democracy is usually expected to guarantee.
‘’We recall that while on a visit to Kano last week, General Buhari had said of the PDP-led Federal Government; “under normal circumstances we are supposed to work strictly within provisions of the constitution, but this is Nigeria and nothing is perfect and the only thing they have not tampered with between 1999 to date in Nigeria is the Holy Koran.
“We are shocked that an elder statesman could paint such an ugly picture, tissue of lies, of his dear nation just to advance his political fortunes. We shudder that a former Head of State under whose watch freedom of expression landed many Nigerians in detention on account of his obnoxious decrees, and who now enjoys such freedom, is utterly ungrateful to the efforts of our great party in advancing the cause of democracy. If the CPC leadership does not understand what the rule of law is, let’s oblige them with little details.
‘’Today, criticisms, even destructive ones are hurled at the PDP-led Federal Government and no one is harassed because we uphold the inalienable rights of the people which is at the heart of democracy. We throw our doors open to criticism so that we accommodate alternative views.
‘’Today, the PDP loses elections and winners are sworn in and we do not use our incumbency at the centre to truncate the democratic wishes of the people. However, in the states held by the opposition parties, local elections were rigged as witnessed in Lagos and Ogun States and where we defy the odds to emerge victorious like in Imo State, machinery of government was used to frustrate the expressed wish of the people”.
‘’The rule of law if we must state further is that in our drive for transparency and accountability, some leaders of our party have been caught by the long arm of the law and we never obstructed the course of justice.
‘’Do we need to add that the PDP led Federal Government does have other preference to the rule of law and that is why we enacted the Freedom of Information Act so that every Nigerian will not be in the dark as to how the nation is run, and so that they can be armed to demand for what is right.
‘’Must we also tell the leadership of the CPC that in our congresses and convention, deference to the rule of law is the word. And that notwithstanding our size, we successfully manage dissenting views and establish strong leadership not dogged by factions like the CPC.”
Alleging that General Buhari had incited some persons against the government in the wake of the Presidential election, the PDP said, ‘’And for General Buhari, the evangelist of rule of law, Nigerians wish to know if unlawful incitement of the populace to violence and attack on the institutions of democracy is part of the rule of law?” ‘’Is the imposition that marked the congresses of the CPC in 2011 which is still hunting the Party till date an act in rule of law?
‘’We wish to advise General Buhari to concentrate in giving Nigerians his alternative ideas and plan of action to what the PDP has at present or even engage us in a public debate on the values of good governance. We pray that his party or whatever alliance they are negotiating presents Buhari once more as a presidential candidate so that Nigerians will make their choice.
‘’However, we wish to remind the former Head of State that Nigerians are not fools and that they know what Nigeria was yesterday especially under regimes like his and what obtains today. There is no doubt that even the blind can distinguish between the daylight it is today and the deep dark night it was hitherto?”