•Says Amaechi’s confirmation as minister, a death knell on APC’s anti-graft war
•APC dismisses allegations, advises PDP to re-brand
By Henry Umoru
NATIONAL leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has accused the presidency of undue interference in the Judiciary, Legislature and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which it said was unacceptable.
Specifically, the PDP accused the presidency of using the Department of State Service, DSS to influence election petition tribunal and court rulings in favour of the APC.
Rising from a meeting held at the Ondo State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, the PDP National Caucus also lampooned Senators elected on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, for confirming former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as a minister, saying the action was a death knell on APC’s war against corruption.
Amaechi was on Thursday confirmed by Senate when all but one Senator in the PDP caucus walked out of the Senate Chambers.
Hailing its senators who staged a walk out from the Senate Chambers during the confirmation of Amaechi, the PDP describing the action as good for democracy.
It said: “We salute the courage and unity of purpose of our senators especially as demonstrated in the Senate chambers in their collective stand against impunity and corruption, in line with the wishes and aspirations of the Nigerian people. The PDP states that what the APC senators did is a death knell on their party’ s pretentious war against corruption.
“The PDP further notes that whilst former APC governors are being rewarded with ministerial appointments, their PDP counterparts are being hounded and harassed in the selective war against corruption. The party reiterates its commitment to the unity of Nigeria and the continued development of democracy in the country.”
In a communiqué signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the the opposition party urged President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, intervene and save the nation’s democracy from drifting into a dictatorship.
The Communiqué read: “The National Caucus carefully reviewed the political developments in the nation’s polity and resolved as follows.
“That there is serious cause for concern in the nation’s political environment, especially as it concerns the survival of the nation’s democracy.
“That the gains recorded in the 16 years of nurturing of democracy in the country by the PDP is rapidly being eroded with non-functioning of basic tenets of democracy and perpetuation of actions tilting towards dictatorship.
“That the insensitivity of the ruling government to very critical issues being raised by the opposition is a huge threat to viable democracy and dangerous to the peace, unity and progress of the country.
“That the undue interferences by the executive arm of government on the activities of the judiciary, legislature and INEC using the DSS is clearly unacceptable to the PDP as well as the Nigerian people and the party resolved to vigorously resist such.
“That the party finds it offensive and provocative, the judiciary’s handling of cases involving it in election tribunals in some states, particularly, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Taraba, Ogun, Plateau and Lagos states. The tainted judgements of these tribunals, which are evidently products of arm-twisting from the nation’s security operatives under the direct command of an APC member remains unacceptable to us.
“The PDP states that the conclusive evidence of external influence on the Rivers State governorship election tribunal is the fact that it was able to deliver its judgement within 24 hours, in a case that had nearly 100 witnesses, 1000 pieces of documentary evidences and nine counsel’s final written addresses; each not less than 40 pages. The decision, in view of the rather interesting history of the case, indicates that the judiciary, like the PDP and the Nigerian electorate are victims of the
APC-led Federal Government.
“The party expects the judiciary, as an institution to restore its image by taking immediate measures to protect itself from political interferences as well as ensure that needed steps are taken at the appellate levels to remedy the embarrassing ruling by some of the election petitions tribunals.
“The party has also noted clandestine moves by the APC to use various agencies of government, to manipulate the processes and rig the outcome of the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states in their favour and vowed to deploy every means within the law to resist such.
“That the party calls on President Muhammadu Buhari, as the leader of the country, to stand up for justice and equity and halt the undemocratic attitudes of agents of government in the interest of peace and stability.”
APC dismisses allegations
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has dismissed the allegation, describing it as a rehash of the opposition party’s infantile whinnying which will not save it from going down unless it rebrands most urgently.
APC spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in his reaction said: ‘’It is time for the PDP to take a long, hard look at itself in the mirror and change everything that is ugly about the party, instead of wasting its energy and time on irrelevancies,’’ the party said in a
statement issued in Lagos on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
It said the PDP cannot continue to do things in its trademark old, crooked ways and expect a different result.
“The PDP just doesn’t get it, despite being the architect of its own fall from power. The days of winning elections with the aid of slush funds, brigandage, deceit and rigging are gone forever, hence the PDP must return to the drawing board to fashion out decent and empirical ways of repackaging and selling itself to Nigerians, just like the opposition did when they decided to come together,’’ APC said.
The party said the PDP’s ceaseless and ill-advised attack on the judiciary, now its favourite whipping boy, the endless put-down of government agencies and the demonization of everyone but itself will fetch the party nothing but political grief.
“Instead of a blanket and unsubstantiated accusation against the judiciary over the election petition tribunal rulings in Rivers and Akwa Ibom, the PDP would have shown itself to be a serious party if it had provided statistics on how many of the cases filed at the various election petition tribunals nationwide, after the 2015 elections, have so far been decided in favour of the PDP and the APC, so that Nigerians can see whether the PDP has not won any single petition or
whether all the cases have been won by the APC.
“The PDP has forgotten that the same judiciary that it is wilfully castigating today had decided many election petitions in favour of the party and against the APC, whether at the Governorship, National Assembly or State Assembly levels, and the ruling party has not opted to bring the whole house crashing down on everyone just because of that.
“Going down the memory lane, when the PDP took itself to court in 2007 over the Governorship election in Rivers, the same judiciary that has now become an apparition to the PDP awarded the Governorship to a candidate who never even featured on the ballot because the party crookedly substituted his name. Then, the PDP did not see the judiciary as being used by the then PDP Administration, neither did the opposition castigate the judiciary,’’ it said.
Asks PDP to re-brand
APC admonished the PDP to stop yowling and engage in strategic thinking that could propel the party forward, rather than continue to be nostalgic about its past, which is neither dignifying nor enlivening.
“The 16 years of the PDP – which the party has continued to shamelessly celebrate – are nothing to celebrate, either for the impunity that characterized the party’s governance, the massive looting of the national treasury that is still being assessed or the bastardization of all the values that the nation holds dear. Thankfully, President Muhammadu Buhari has brought sanity to governance even as the PDP has continued to try to distract him with their endless wailing.
“Our parting word for the PDP: Stop throwing juvenile tantrums against everyone, especially the judiciary. Stop wasting your energy on frivolous accusations. Learn how to communicate your thoughts to Nigerians in a more civilized way and put your shoulder to the wheel if you want to reincarnate as a force to be reckoned with in our country’s political firmament,’’ APC said.