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PEPT: Be wary of Lai Mohammed, HURIWA warns Buhari

… says he is democracy destroyer

By Emmanuel Elebeke

Civil Rights Advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of  Nigeria (HURIWA) has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of the likes of his information minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed if the president ever aspires to bequeath any enduring legacies of statesmanship and patriotism to Nigerians and generation yet unborn by the end of his term.

Lai Mohammed, Buhari
Lai Mohammed

The Rights group in the same vein has carpeted the information minister for his irrational, undemocratic and unconstitutional outburst following the contentious verdict of the presidential election petition tribunal in Abuja which awarded legal victory to President Muhammadu Buhari in the post-election litigation instituted by the 2019 presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

HURIWA, therefore, cautioned president Buhari to distance himself from the tragic line of thinking of his information minister because in its considered opinion, ‘‘it is inconceivable that the minister could utter such thoughtless reaction which runs contrary to civilized thinking.

It also said the outburst depicted him as someone who lacks the elementary knowledge of the fundamentals of election litigation governed by adherence to the principle of Rule of law which the Nigerian Constitution being the grand norm so recognized.

The Rights group in a statement signed by the National Coordinator, Emanuel Onwubiko stated that it is odd and totally irrational that a serving minister and a lawyer for that matter can be quoted as demanding public apology and/or prosecution of a petitioner in a highly contentious electoral matter which for the time being has also been contentiously and controversially resolved in favour of the president who is a necessary respondent in the electoral litigation.

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“Only a completely uneducated road-side political fanatic who is delusional and cut off from the reality and dynamics of constitutional democracy can be heard demanding that someone like the former vice president Atiku Abubakar who chose the most civilized and constitutional route to seek for legal redress over his perceived ‘shortchanging’ by independent national electoral commission, should apologize for choosing to go to court of law”.

“We urge President Buhari to steer clear of Lai Mohammed who is simply a crass political opportunist who is totally unmindful of the need for President Buhari in the last stage of his prolonged political career to focus on bequeathing enduring legacies of statesmanship and patriotism. Lai Mohammed by this outlandish outburst has shown himself as a politician who stokes up crises for selfish aggrandizement.”

“What that empty rhetoric of Lai Mohammed shows is a man with a warped idea of what is the best step to adopt to seek for justice. Would Lai Mohammed had preferred that Atiku Abubakar never filed a suit but instigate his supporters to revolt? Was Atiku not also called a foreigner by the lawyers to the president in this same Tribunal? So what should Atiku do to President his kinsman who for political exigency chose to deny his kinsman Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and sought to deprive him of his citizenship by branding him a foreigner?

HURIWA contended that the erstwhile vice president has the constitutional right to institute any legal matter to democratically seek for redress.

Recall that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had in a statement issued on Thursday from St Petersburg, asked the People’s Democratic Party and its presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to apologize to Nigerians for willfully distracting the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari with a frivolous election petition, instead of appealing the ruling of Wednesday’s Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

The rights group described the statement attributed to Lai Mohammed as disgraceful and repugnant to both good conscience and rational thinking.

‘‘HURIWA dismissed these statements by Lai Mohammed as the ranting of someone who does not wish President Muhammadu Buhari well but it remarkably shows that Lai Mohammed is disloyal to the President through his show of disdainful sycophancy.’’

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