The National Publicity Secretary of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, has been condemned by a group, Governance Watch Initiative (GWI), over a statement credited to him yesterday, where he called on members and supporters of the PDP to rise up and use all lawful means to resist anti-democratic forces, now using the judiciary and security agencies in their desperate scheme to subvert the will of the people and destroy the nation’s democracy.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday, by its National Coordinator, Rotimi Ogunwuyi, the GWI, alleged that such a statement was attempted to instigate its members and supporters to rise up against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the APC.
The statement read: “We at the Governance Watch Initiative (GWI) read with great shock the Press Release by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, on Sunday, in which he tried to instigate its members and supporters to rise up against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the APC.
“We are horrified that a party that was until six months ago the ruling party in our country, and one that was in control of 27 states at a certain time, could so brazenly seek to instigate anarchy in the country simply because a duly constituted tribunal upturned the governorship election in Rivers State.
“We have also noticed a series of unwarranted attacks against our nation’s judiciary by Chief Metuh and his party, an attack that was carried to a disturbing level in Sunday’s statement,” it said.
The group added that, “We recall that when Chibuike Amaechi, then of the PDP, was pronounced as the Governor of Rivers State by the Supreme Court in October 2007, even when he did not contest that year’s governorship election since his name had been substituted by his party, the PDP did not think the judiciary was being used by the PDP-led Federal Government of the time.
“We also recall that under the present dispensation, all the APC National Assembly candidates in Rivers, who took their cases to the election petition tribunal, lost and heavens did not fall.
“We note that Chief Metuh has always been quick to say that his party will provide a credible opposition, and wonder what is credible in the kind of subversive statements that have been emanating from the PDP spokesman in recent times.
“If indeed Chief Metuh and his party believe in the rule of law, as they have often trumpeted, they would have realized that it is better to appeal any judgment they do not like than to threaten to bring the entire country crashing down on everyone.
“What true democrat will resort to self-help to resolve an electoral dispute when there are clear constitutional channels to resolve such issues? It is an interesting irony that the same Chief Metuh, who has been raving at the judiciary, is the one calling, in his statement, on the Chief Justice of Nigeria to ‘note the looming danger and save the nation’s democracy and the institution of the judiciary’.”
According to the Ogunwuyi, “We hereby call on Chief Metuh and his party, the PDP, not to plunge Nigeria into crisis through inciting and careless statements that have no place in any democracy. They should realize that every statement they issue is being read within and outside Nigeria, hence their new-found pastime of denigrating our judiciary will have consequences far beyond politics.
“We call on the leaders of the PDP who still believe in the tenets of democracy and the rule of law to rein in Chief Metuh before he blacklists the party and instigates chaos in the polity with his unconstrained recklessness. They should tell him there are better ways play opposition than the issuance of crude and irreverent statements.
“We note that being in opposition is not synonymous with abuse of the institutions of government and a frenzied wolf crying, especially for an opposition party that has barely spent six months in that capacity.
“Nigeria is bigger than anyone and nobody, irrespective of his/her grievances, must put the country’s democracy in danger just because a tribunal has nullified an election. The PDP must carry its fight to the court room, not the streets.”