By Dirisu Yakubu &Blessing Aina
ABUJA-The forum of former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Ministers yesterday took the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to the cleaners, particularly in its handling of the security challenges in the country.
In a meeting at the Abuja home of the former Minister of Special duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, the ex-ministers expressed confidence in the ability of the PDP to constructively put the ruling party on its toes, preparatory to the next general elections.
Reading the text of a communiqué arrived at the end of a meeting which lasted several hours, Turaki condemned the menace of kidnapping and armed robbery even as it urged the federal government to rise up to the challenge for the good of the country and its people.
“The forum observes with great concern the deteriorating security situation in this country particularly the increasing spate of kidnapping, armed robbery and the unchecked menace of herdsmen that regularly killed, rapped and vandalized the farmlands of a lot of farmers in the communities,” said Turaki who added that the failure of leadership on the part of the Buhari-led government has caused divisions among Nigerians across religions and ethnic cleavages.
“The Forum also notes that as a result of the inept leadership of the APC-led federal government of Nigeria; Nigerians have never been so polarized along regional, tribal, ethnic, religious and other divides and we feel that this is really most unfortunate.
“The forum…strongly feel that the APC government should be alive and up to its responsibility as a government to Nigerians and we wish President Muhammadu Buhari quick recovery and to return to his post as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Turaki added on behalf of the Forum.
And in what appeared a rejection of the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff leadership of the party, the Forum pledged its allegiance to the National Caretaker Committee, NCC led by former governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, lauding its effort aimed at making the PDP a party to be reckoned with.
“The National Caretaker Committee led by Senator Makarfi has been playing a commendable role in keeping the members of the party together and upholding the tenets of the vision of the party. The Forum therefore reaffirms its confidence in the caretaker committee.
“The Forum resolves to remain committed to the ideals, vision and mission of the PDP and we are determined to join other organs of the party in revitalizing the party into a virile and more credible opposition,” Turaki noted.
Fielding questions from journalists on the gale of defections in the PDP, the former Minister dismissed the development, arguing that politics “is all about interest.” According to him, the party remains strong in spite of the defections to the ruling party.
“Life is dynamic and in the process of that dynamism, people move, changes unfold, thinking differs and new realignments come into play. Politics is about interest,” he said, adding that it is not true that a stalwart of the party, Doyin Okupe has left the PDP.
“You gave an example of Okupe. If you read his speech very carefully, he said there are reservations why he thinks for now, he should siddon look but he has not said he is going into any other party,” Turaki further explained.
Responding to a question on the President’s state of health, Turaki said the Forum has not forgotten what Buhari said while President Umaru Yar’Adua found himself in a similar situation but noted it would not hit back in similar fashion, saying the PDP is praying for the recovery of the President to face the PDP in the 2019 general elections.
Also of worry to the opposition party is what it termed the “unnecessary persecution” of its members by the APC, citing the recent raid in the home of former Vice President, Namadi Sambo.
“The Forum once again wishes to condemn in very clear terms, the unnecessary persecution and decimation of the opposition and the unwarranted invasion of the residence of the immediate past Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Architect Namadi Sambo and the continued harassment and detention of key members of the opposition,” the ex-Ministers continued.
In a chat with newsmen on the sideline, former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode used the occasion of the Forum’s meeting to pay tribute to First Republic Minister, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule who died in a Cairo hospital yesterday. Fani-Kayode described the departed octogenarian as detribalized Nigeria “who fought for the unity of the country” at all times and a man “who stood firm by the Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa” even after he was killed.
The meeting had in attendance Engineer Mike Onolomemen, Professors A.B.C. Nwosu, Tunde Adeniran, Jerry Gana, Abubakar Sulaiman, Elder Godsday Orubebe, Mrs. Josephine Anenih, Comrade Abba Moro and a host of others.