By Dirisu Yakubu
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Wednesday chided the All Progressives Congress, APC, for a statement it issued on Tuesday calling for the arrest of its Presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar for alleged felony.
The PDP in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan noted that Atiku’s comments on national issues have been patriotic and within his constitutional right of freedom of speech, not only as a citizen of this Federal Republic but also a former Vice President. The statement read: “As a responsible political party, we boldly state that none of the statements made by our presidential candidate falls within the realm of felony in anyway whatsoever. “However, intelligence available to the PDP largely posits that the threats against Atiku Abubakar emanated from certain persons around the Buhari-led Presidency who are jittery that President Muhammadu Buhari’s defense is collapsing at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, for which they have become desperate to use underhand methods to stop Atiku Abubakar. “The PDP invites Nigerians to note that the renewed allegations against Atiku Abubakar came after a witness told the court, as has been publicly reported, that the Army never required any enlisted officer to submit his West African Examination Council, WAEC certificate, in total contradiction to claims that Mr. President’s certificates were in the custody of the Army. “Our party counsels the APC to rather get ready for justice instead of seeking ways to frame Atiku Abubakar on flimsy and unconstitutional grounds,” adding that when PDP was in power, “it never gagged the APC and its leaders, including President Buhari, from exercising their freedom of speech and freedom after speech, in line with our laws.” The statement further read: “We note that General Muhammadu Buhari issued over 160 statements while he was in the opposition, including inflammatory remarks like the one that called on his supporters to take their fate in their own hands. It is instructive to note that none of the PDP administrations threatened General Buhari over such comments. “Furthermore, it is quite disturbing that the APC is attacking Atiku Abubakar for commending British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, for appointing 39 years old Nigerian, Kemi Badenoch, as a minister in his cabinet.
“Contrary to President Buhari’s projection to the world that Nigerian youths are lazy and should not be given an active role in governance in our country, other nations are finding accommodations for our youths. Atiku Abubakar cannot but commend such world leaders, no matter whose ox is gored.
“It is also instructive to note that the APC has further shown its disdain for the Nigerian youth as being demonstrated by President Buhari, whose cabinet has no place for our youths. Instead of attacking Atiku Abubakar for standing for our energetic and focused young men and women, the expectation of Nigerians is that APC will accept its failures and advise President Buhari against total disregard for young Nigerians.
“The PDP notes the reference by APC to President Buhari as a “sitting” President. Our party, however, states that what Nigeria needs at a time like this is a working President, not a President that sits down while our country becomes the world headquarters of poverty; not a President that relaxes in an arm-chair while insecurity festers and our economy continues to nosedive to the extent that Ghana has overtaken our nation as the number one recipient for Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, in West Africa.”